The Divine: A play for Sarah Bernhardt

Samantha Tetlak and Meghan Wren outside Constans Theatre moments before the play
The initial setting of the play

Upon entering the Constans Theatre, I felt ecstatic. The last time I had seen a play was in high school. I find plays interesting, diverse, and full of wealthy knowledge. One can learn vast wisdom through the art of theatre without even realizing it. Once the lights dimmed and the audience quieted, I felt scared but excited at the same time. I did not know what to expect but that made me even more eager. There was lighting to enhance the thunderstorm of the opening setting. I immediately became engaged into the artwork, as if I was actually there. My seat was located in the center of the auditorium, perfect for a whole glimpse of the stage. The size of the auditorium was smaller than I imagined, but it was quite comforting and welcoming. The art of theatre makes one profoundly reflect on an issue in a distinct manner than a classroom setting. The meaning of the Good Life is different for everyone as well as what it means to attain it. The place of theatre enables everyone in the audience to perceive their own thoughts and imagination about the themes that are portrayed in the play. I appreciated this requirement for the Good Life class because it is not common for me to watch theatrical performances. This particular place gave me a discrete outlook and mindset on life and opened a pathway for new experiences.

Meghan Wren, Samantha Tetlak, and Brittany DiCaprio in our seats before the play
Meghan Wren and Samantha Tetlak in the auditorium before the play!

I attended the performance with girls in my sorority. I like surrounding myself with people I know because it makes me feel more comfortable and I am more likely to enjoy the activity. There were other students in theatre I had recognized attending the play for Good Life. To get ready, I got dressed and grabbed my student ID. Prior to the play, I read and viewed the video about the performance so I would be able to better understand the notions. Then, I had one of my sorority sisters pick up my friends and I in her car so we could go together. We took several pictures together outside the theatre and in the theatre to adequately prepare ourselves for this play and embrace what this theatre has to offer. Attending the play with my friends definitely enhanced my experience. Not only did we get to spend time together, but we were able to share this experience. We are able to look back on that day and embrace the new knowledge we gained together. To me, sharing experiences with your friends/family is important to achieve the Good Life. Some things may be done solitary, however, the art of literature engages various minds into one perceived notion. All our past history and life occurrence's do not matter at this point. The focus is on the play, with each unique mind formulated around the same theme. After the play, we were able to discuss what the play had meant to us and how we viewed the play in our own eyes.

Samantha Tetlak, Aliya Nhaisi, Meghan Wren, Brittany DiCaprio during intermission

Prior to the performance, I knew little about the central topics of church authority and factory conditions/child labor laws. I remember from my high school history class how, in the 1900s, the catholic church had tremendous power over people. I also remember that factory conditions were very unsanitary and dangerous. Children worked at young ages in the factories for long hours and barely got paid. I learned that the play took place in Quebec city, the capital of the Canadian province Quebec. In addition to being a political, administrative, and military center, the church held the power in shaping the society. The Church ran everything including, hospitals, education, asylums, etc. Priest's made twice the salary than an average worker. Talbot came from a poor family. His brother and mother worked in the factory to make money. Furthermore, there were not many safety regulations or labor laws, making injury and deaths common. In the end, the brother, Leo, dies underneath the floorboard because of the toxic chemicals. One of the worker's niece died because her hair got stuck in a machine. These scenarios and living situations, make me grateful for the life I have today. I am not in poverty nor working all day for money. I really appreciate the opportunities I have such as education and freedom. It also made me really think about my values, morals, and ethics. Talbot had to grapple with his own shame of victimization to protect himself and his family. Michaud had to inhibit his love for the theatre to protect his place in the church. Throughout this play, I learned and understood moral and ethical values and how the determination of which one to choose could be very arduous. It is hard to choose between what is ethically right and what you love to do/what you should do. I have learned that even in the mist of atrocities, the truth will always prevail. In the end, this play opened my eyes to the harsh realities people use to face back in the 1900s and taught about moral and ethics, the truth, and to be grateful for the live I have now.

Meghan Wren, Samantha Tetlak, Brittany DiCaprio, Aliya Nhaisi leaving Constans Theatre
Samantha Tetlak, Mary Athena, Brittany Dicaprio in the lounge area

The Divine provides us an opportunity for Katharsis (coming clean). When watching the play about the harsh realities, we think to ourselves how great we have life right now. With the comparison of then to now, we feel a sense of gratitude and happiness. We analyze and examine what values are most important to us such as family. We may think to ourselves about what moral and ethical values mean to us and which one is more important. Walking out of the play, I almost felt refreshed. It is remarkable how our world has improved and made living so much more appreciable. We also realize that all humans, even back then, had difficulties in life. We can all relate to the feeling of losing someone who we loved and the pressures of trying to be well-known and accepted into society. The Divine performance has helped me to understand and learn about church authority, factories, child labor laws, and media, topics that may be uncomfortable for people to talk about. Most importantly, it taught me about moral and ethical values. How we have the opportunity to decide what means most to us and the opportunity to start over if we wanted to. Overall, The Divine brings humans together, to sympathize, support, and relate to one another. No matter what, the truth will always prevail. Like Sarah Bernhardt said about the quest for the truth "Theatre is the sister of History and Philosophy, of Politics and Justice. Theatre reveals turpitude and excess. It denounces tyrants by portraying their tyranny. It educates the ignorant without their realizing it. It opens our minds. It touches our hearts. It punishes. It pardons. It seeks the truth."

Created By
Samantha Tetlak


Created with images by TusitaStudio - "begging hands poor"

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