The Divine is a play written by Michel Marc Bouchard, translated by Linda Gaboriau and directed by David Young. The play tells the story of two young seminarians who are conflicted between the guidance of their faith and their own desires. Although set in the nineteenth century, we can see many similarities in today's modern society. Faith, life, religion and art are all equally relevant today as they were back then.
Source text and picture: http://arts.ufl.edu/in-the-loop/events/the-divine-a-play-for-sarah-bernhardt/
Inside Constans Theatre, Picture taken by Carsten Bing
The Spatial Experience: When I first entered the theatre, the first thing I noticed was how the scene was put up. Although I had read the introduction of the play beforehand, it was very different from what I had imagined it to look like. The dimmed light also contributed to making the scene look dark and mysterious, as seen in the picture above.
Alone the the theatre, picture taken by Carsten Bing
The Social Experience: As you can see, I arrived alone and decided to watch the play alone. At first, I thought it would not be that enjoyable, but in hindsight, I think it helped me enjoy and analyze the play. I also met some people in the theatre who were as interested in discussing the main themes as I were. We spent most of the time scratching our heads in confusion over what was going on. One could say that the common confusion created a bond between all of us.
Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, source:http://www.hegel-system.de/de/gif/botticelli-venus.jpg
The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: Throughout the play, we listen to the protagonists try to discover what truly rules their lives, whether it is lust, god or their passions. This search for a higher power reminded me of Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli because the painting portrays the glorification of holiness so well. Gods have always been a huge part of history, and although less prominent in the western world today, we cannot deny our past. Because the play is set in an era where religion heavily influenced society, it was the main theme of the play, but I also believe that this search for something bigger is equally relevant today.
Madonna by Edvard Munch, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_(Munch_painting)
The Emotional Experience: Purity is a concept I find very strange. I have grown up with my parents believing that purity was the ultimate goal, but eventually as I grew older, I think I understood that it is the impurities inside of us that makes us stand out. In the play, the two seminarians try to stay pure through the church. Probably the most pure symbol you can find in the Christian faith is Virgin Mary. Edvard Munch's painting is displayed in the Munch Museum in Oslo, and I have personally seen it. It is heavily theorized that the painting is based off Virgin Mary. What I find fascinating with the painting is that Munch does not use the typical golden halo, but replaces it with a red halo, symbolizing lust and love. It is almost as if he is painting a more humane version of the Virgin Mary, something that I admire because in the end, we are all human. Reflecting back into the play we can see that the two protagonists try to have their golden halo, but in the end they covert themselves to the lust of human nature. I think it is an important message, that nobody can achieve complete purity, and that sometimes you need to follow your desires rather than what will keep you pure.
After the play, picture taken by Isabelle