The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt JENSEN RICE

The atmosphere at the Constans Theatre was immersing and captivating, taking the audience to another world following the story of Talbot, Sarah Bernhardt, and Michaud when the lights dimmed and the audience quieted.
I attended the performance alone, due to obligations prior that made me arrive just as the play was starting, but was pleased that the strangers beside me were quiet and respectful to the actors, audience, and theatre.
In my opinion, the central issue of the play is social oppression and poverty. In the early 1900s, poverty and the discrepancy between classes is much higher than it is today. This is evidenced in the play by the lack of child labor laws, with Leo Talbot working grossly long hours to help his family, and the impoverished state of his family. I had known little about the specific condition of Quebec in the 1900s prior to watching the play. While the events unfolding did surprise me in the extreme, I was moderately surprised by the large role of the church in politics and power. The theme of poverty doesn't directly relate to my life, but seeing the play strengthened my responsibility to help those less fortunate than me.
One way "The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt" provides us with an opportunity for katharsis is by showing us characters stuck pursuing a career for reasons other than a love for it. Michaud is enamored by the stage, and would enjoy any role in a theater more than his role as a seminary. Talbot does not have a very priestly demeanor and has no desire to become a servant of the Church, he would much rather make a living running a small shop, but is ensnared by poverty to take his only chance to escape by priesthood, a role that brings power and a comfortable life. Many of us today chase careers for the money or because of the wills of others, this outside look at Talbot and Michaud makes us reflect on if our career choices are the right ones for us.
Created By
Jensen Rice


Photos 2- From UF Arts Website 3 and 5 - From director and playwright Micheal Marc Bouchard's official website

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