The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Laura Quinn

The Spatial Experience

As you go through the doors into the lobby, there are people to check bags and check guests in. Then, you enter a spacious theater with strangely oriented sections of the stage (that allow actors to go into the audience from the stage). I sat in a seat close to the stage, which was both positive and negative. Since I was close to the stage, I connected more with the actors. However, when the actors went onto the extensions of the traditional stage, I could not see them because they were behind me and the lighting was too bright for me to attempt to turn around. There were many people in the auditorium which made me feel a sense of community. When the lights dimmed during scene changes and the audience quieted, it felt suspenseful and intriguing. Place is important in the good life because it is where people meet and congregate, without it community would not exist.

"University of Florida Constans Theater Air Handling Unit T2 Replacement." Foresight. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. (Picture)

The Social Experience

I went to the play by myself and was seated next to strangers before the play began. I mostly stuck to myself as the people around me definitely did not want to be there. I found the play to be interesting while a lot of the surrounding crowd did not. I feel like without the people who came in with a preconceived notion that the play would be terrible, I would have enjoyed the social setting more. To prepare for the play, I read the playbill. In the good life, shared experiences play a huge role in happiness. Being around people and enjoying your time with them is more memorable than sitting home alone, even if you enjoy that.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

This play helped me understand western society’s culture of change. It is the change and removal of wrong doings. Obviously we have never been perfect and we may be slow in changing, but change for the good of humanity always comes. The central issues addressed in this play were poverty, excess and unfair labor, and child abuse (labor and sexual). I knew before this play a lot about child labor during the industrial revolution, but I didn’t know much about how it could connect with religion and theater. I never realized how theater acted much like the media in modern society, it acted as a voice for change. The events in this play gave me an appreciation for the theater both historically and artistically.

The Emotional Experience

This play serves as an opportunity for catharsis by exposing, rather loudly, the social injustices in Quebec City. The voices most ignored- the working class and children- are empowered by Sarah Bernhardt and Michaud, a famous actress and an upper class playwright/seminarian through the theater. In order for these oppressed people to have a chance at a good life or happiness, they must remove their oppression. This cannot be done without help. The working class is given an opportunity for catharsis by Sarah’s social commentary at the play. This began the process of change, slowly but surely. Talbot’s form of catharsis is his release from his past of sexual abuse when Michaud tells him he sent the statement to the police. He was not truly “clean” until this happens, simply telling Michaud what happened was not enough. Michaud freed him from this weight, allowing him to finally move on in life.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.