The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt MEGHAN CONNOLLY

As I headed toward the Constans Theater from the Reitz Union lobby, I didn't have too high of expectations. From the lobby it didn't look like there would be anything special behind the entrance doors. However, I was very impressed once I got inside. The theater was quite small, but I felt like I was about to see a well-done, legitimate performance. I sat right in the middle of the audience with a perfect view of the stage. When the actress who played Sarah Bernhardt came out of the side doors and into the crowd, I was so close to her and the action that I really felt the story come to life in front of me. The area may have been pretty small, but I think it made the connection between the actors and the audience stronger and more intimate. The role of place in the Good Life is feeling comfortable where your are and included in he activity going on around you. The people around you also are very important no matter where you are.

I attended The Divine with my roommate and friend Danielle. As the story progressed we each became more and more intrigued and anxious to see what would happen next. With such a huge plot twist of abuse the that Tolbert went through and the tragic death of his little brother, you couldn't help but discuss it with a friend and even the strangers next to you about it. After this play I found myself having conversations with people I had never met before, but since we all had just experienced the same story and same emotions we had something in common to discuss. When people experience things together they form deep connections. The depth those connections depends on how intense the experience was. When a person recalls an event or a memory, one usually thinks about who he or she was with at the time the most. The people you are surrounded by make all the difference in how an experience affects you. It is through these experiences that one forms connections with others and possibly relationships.

This play takes place at the very beginning of the 20th century in Quebec City. One of the main characters, Tolbert, is a young seminarian. The story is about people who are very poor and are forced to make sacrifices to provide for their families. Mrs. Tolbert was working in a factory with one of her younger sons which is very dangerous environment for a child. A woman the two of them work with was mourning the loss of her two young nieces after they were killed by a machine in that factory. The storyline exemplifies the mistreatment of desperate workers by their employers. The wealthy owners of these factories cared much more about a profit then the well being of their employees. And even when a young man like Tolbert is put into a seminary to become educated and be of a higher status, he may be abused but can't do or say anything about it for fear he would get kicked out and have to go back to working in a factory with no more of a future in sight. This performance taught me how difficult it must have been in those days and in that kind of hopeless poverty to reach a comfortable and enjoyable life. The Tolbert family just couldn't seem to win between one sons experience of sexual assault and the other's shocking neglect and death. No matter how hard Mrs. Tolbert worked, she couldn't fix the the hard times she was living in.

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt allows for the audience to see their faults and gives us an opportunity of catharsis. In one of the scenes the factory owner made a point about how someone who is buying a pair of shoes made in his factory ask fro the price and the color, not how old or how mistreated the person who made them is. Consumers want the most luxurious things at the cheapest prices but don't consider the means by which these items come so cheap. If a salesman wants to sell a product he has to beat his competition b lowering his prices. But if he lowers his prices and still wants to make a profit, then he can't afford to worry about his employees and he can't pay them a fair wage. His company wouldn't make money if he did so. This reminds the audience consumers are the reason these workers are treated so poorly. Without their business the factories wouldn't be successful. Producers are going to do everything they can to give a consumer what he or she wants. As they say the customer is always right. It doesn't matter what pain or suffering an employee is going through as long as that producer makes a profit of a consumer. after seeing this play the audience will probably consider the items they have that were probably made by these factory workers and appreciate their part in the wrong doing.

Created By
Meghan Connolly


Created with images by Rosmarie Voegtli - "magic moment"

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