Set in turn of the 20th century Canada, The Divine: a Play for Sarah Bernhardt, was in time and place torn between stepping into the world of change and holding true to their religious roots. The Divine address's two hot button issues of the time; the abuse in the catholic church as well as arising child labor laws. Going into the show I knew nothing of who Sarah Bernhardt was or what she stood for. Still I knew that in the turn of the century many of the Catholic Church priests were accused of molesting many of their charges. I also knew that the working conditions in the factories at the time were awful. Many of the children who did not die of the perils of the machinery often perished from the diseases that came from the harsh chemicals used in the factories.
As the performance progressed and the plot unfurled I found that my views on these issues became more personal. Never before had either of these issues effected my views on life and religion. However, this changed as these issues combined to show the incompetency of people to own up to their mistakes. This applies to every day life because evils and wrongs happen in the dark everyday. Whether it be abuse, stealing, or some other crime, these things are not always reported. Rather, they are known of and let to happen because society is afraid to speak up. Thus, while I have never experienced this sort of event in my life, the cultural relation to society allows for a clear understanding to all.
The beauty of theater is that society can talk about issues that are not acceptable for social environments. This is why theater both embraces a play writes Katharsis, but also persecutes them for their honesty. All play writes embrace the realities of life and make beauty of them, thus allowing the audience to empathize through the actors portrayal of the story. By accepting the faults in society and realizing that they come with the Good Life, theater makes the audience wiser and more open to new ideas. Therefore, by experiencing theater and allowing it to reach you at an emotional level, you enable yourself to step closer to the Good Life
Theater masks. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.