The Divine Life Gabriela Gonzalez

Upon entering the Reitz lobby, I saw it in a new light; I had sat in the chairs adjacent to the Constans Theatre and not realized the room just beyond the glass doors. The auditorium was much smaller than I had anticipated. I imagined the classic enormity of a theatre, where the stage was at least 30 feet away and the actors appeared so small that facial expressions were practically imperceivable. The Constans theatre was intimate, especially since Julia (pictured above, and whose written consent I have) and I sat three rows up in the center. Once the lights dimmed, the auditorium got so dark it felt almost uncomfortable to sit so close to strangers. The actors ran out from the back of the auditorium and from the side of the stage, and that was the moment I realized just how close we were to the stage! It made the performance exponentially better and I actually enjoyed the play.
Julia Paoli and I, in our typical fashion, were doing homework up until 30 minutes before we had to leave for the performance. We quickly ran to our individual rooms, slipped on our dresses and flats, and met downstairs. We walked to the Reitz, and I was very grateful to have gone with a friend once I saw the large crowd of students waiting outside of the theatre. We saw a few of our classmates as well as peers from our dorm. The Common Activity did exactly what it was intended to do, it united us with our fellow gators as we all sat and watched the same outstanding performance. I think it is important to note that while we all saw the same performance, each individual interpreted the scenes uniquely.
The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt takes place in the early 1900s in Quebec City, Canada and addresses the clash of religion and art, more specifically Catholicism and the theatre. Honestly, I did not know there was such a large culture clash between the church and the arts, which is surprising to me considering I am Catholic. I am aware of the controversy and speculation surrounding the Catholic church, and I believe the play did an exquisite job at portraying another side of the church's morality debate. Growing up, I believed Priests and members of the church were all ambivalent people who had outstanding morals. As I got older, i realized that not everyone who invests in religion is kind, patient, or understanding. The performance emphasized this realization, because Talbot was suspected to be a brawler and a thief and was very aggressive during the beginning of the play.
The Divine, centered around the conflict between the church and the theatre, highlights the paradox of high-ranking church figures, such as Priests, being held to a high standard yet not embodying the qualities of a righteous person. Talbot went to seminary school, yet got into a fight with a Priest and stole silverware. It is revealed that he is attending school because becoming a priest is the only career that can rip a man from poverty. It is clear that he is not happy in his path, and I believe the play exemplifies Katharsis by exposing this contradiction. Not all powerful figures have exemplary morals, and the sooner the audience realizes that and comes clean about the truth, the faster we can begin to improve our moral compasses and be honest about why we choose our career paths.

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