The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by Jade Ganter

cover photo by me

The Divine is a play about a promiscuous young actress, a conflicted seminarian, and an aspiring play-wright who have all been over shadowed by the clergy. Each chose to flight back in different ways. During their journey, the concepts of enlightenment and self-truth became prominent. The characters engulfed in self-indulgence in order to figure out their true meaning in life.

photo by me

The Spatial Experience: The lights were dim when I entered the theater. A feeling of mystery and excitement filled me while I took a front row seat. Even though the auditorium was massive, I felt connected to the show because I was right in the center front. When the lights dimmed and everyone quieted. I felt nervous, I had no clue what to expect. This was the first play that I have ever attended, so I was a little anxious on what to expect.

Sarah Bernhardt. photo from wikipedia

The Social Experiment: I attended the performance alone, which was somewhat enlightening because I was able to fully captivate the show and understand my feelings without a distraction. I had a full schedule that day so right after tutoring I went to the theater. In the first half, I was in a room full of strangers sharing an intimate moment in the theater. The theater is an intimate experience because live people are able to connect with you emotionally and personally. I believe that accompanying friend to the theater is a great way to make bonds and make a friendship closer. During the second half, most of the people I was sitting around left, therefore I felt vulnerable and more engulfed in the experience.

photo by me

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience: My friend gave me a brief overview of the play before attending, without spoilers. I was grateful that she kept the key moments to herself because experiencing the "big reveal" was an emotional and key moment in my experience at the theater. The play was sent in 1905 in Quebec City, the central theme discussed was the sexual abuses that the Archbishop had on countless young men. I thought that this was very ironic because the church forbade Sarah Bernhardt from performing because she was too "promiscuous" even though they were hiding one of the most immoral acts of mankind. This showed the hyprocrisy of the church and made me very ashamed.

The Emotional Experience: The Divine relates to kartharsis because it involves a culturally and religious provoking concept. The plot of the Divine allows the audience to deem what is right and what is wrong. The "good" and "bad" sides of the play are conflicting because in todays society the church is deemed "good" while societal abnormalities are deemed "bad". But in The Divine, "good" and "bad" are switched due to circumstantial events. This provoking concept of an immoral church influences the audience to examine themselves and determine what they should do in order or be a better person. Sometimes, it takes a rude awakening in order for someone to truly evaluate oneself.

photo by me

Conclusion: Overall, the play was not what I expected it to be. I heard people moan and groan about how long and boring the play was, therefore I was pretty pessimistic walking in. But I am very empathetic, therefore I was able to be emotionally invested in the characters and the plot of The Divine. I caught myself quietly speaking to myself about what should happen during the play, especially towards the end when Talbot was faced with the decision to move on or confront his dark past. I was surprised on how dark the subject matter was. This play was very real and socially provocative. I would recommend this play to a friend.

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