The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt By: Hope Molinelli

The Spatial Experience

This is a picture of the Constans Theatre, the place where the play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt was presented.

Upon walking into the Constans Theatre, I was overrun with a wave of emotions that I distinctly remember feeling the last time I had entered a theater many years ago. There is this sensation of excitement, thrill, and anticipation that fell over me as I waited outside those double doors that would lead me into a dim lit room and a stage where I knew the actors were waiting behind it, waiting to spill onto the stage. Once I entered the theater, I followed the stream of eager people ahead of me straight to the front row. The auditorium was large with rows and rows of seats that were seconds away from being filled. It was a large place but I knew soon it would seem small as our attention would soon be drawn to the black stage at the front of the room. From my seat, I waited impatiently as I stared at the dark stage ahead of me. I knew the moment I had sat down that I had chosen the perfect seat. Not only was I front row and I would get the best view in the theater, I knew I was in the perfect place to just concentrate on the show and nothing else around me. With my program resting in my hands, I quickly tore through it, gleaning all of the information I could about the show that was seconds from beginning. Then the lights had dimmed and the sound of the theater quieted, and the white specks of what looked like snow began to fall behind the windows on the stage. There was a collective gasp and when the lights brightened and the first character walked on stage, I found myself sitting upward in my seat, my fingers clinging to my seat as I watched eagerly. Everyone around me was rapt as the performance carried on and the actors livened up the theater with their loud, eloquent voices. The role of place in the Good Life is extremely important because a place holds a certain power where it can evoke different emotions and feelings for all of the people that occupy it.

The Social Experience

On the left is a photo of me that my friend took in front of the doors to the theater. On the right is an image I took of myself upon leaving the theater after the performance.

Clearly the images from above show my anticipation and excitement upon entering the theater and my obvious joy and delight after the show had ended. What made this experience more memorable was the fact that I got to experience it with my closest friend. To get ready for the performance, I did a little research on the play and read a quick synopsis on the internet to quickly brief myself on what it was going to be about. Attending the play with my friend definitely enhanced my experience of attending the play and gave me someone to tell all my thoughts and feelings to upon leaving the theater. I was so happy to have shared this experience that I hope to remember forever with a friend that is very close to me. I also got to share the experience with other students in my Good Life class and while they may have been strangers, we all shared something in common that night. We were all going to witness a play that tonight and experience a multitude of emotions and feelings. The role of shared experiences in the Good Life is integral because it allows us to share our intimate and most memorable moments with those around us and in a way it creates deeper connections with the people around us and a common ground that can be built upon in hopes of making a long-lasting and memorable relationships. It was interesting to get to see in the after-talk how each of the actors prepared their roles and how they became closer in their pursuits of becoming their characters.

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

On the left is a picture of the artwork right beside the doors that lead into the theater. On the right is a picture of the program that was handed to everyone in the audience upon entering the theater.

Viewing this performance allowed me to develop a new way of seeing and understanding our own culture. It made me realize that theater is one of the ways that certain ideas and concepts in society can be presented in a light and humorous manner but also in a dark and touching manner. I also learned that theater has a way of expressing issues and matters that are plaguing our society and evoke hundreds of emotions in a matter of hours. The Divine takes place in December of 1905 in Quebec City where realism in theater was on the rise but there was also a somberness that filled the streets. The central issue addressed in the performance was the social injustice that managed to strike one of the socially oppressed people in society and the difference between those that are not as fortunate and those that are privileged during this era. Before attending the performance, I knew who the main characters were, Michaud, Talbot and Sarah Bernhardt and I knew that the story would touch on the importance of theater and art through a search for truth and justice. The performance changed my views about these issues immensely. I was not aware of the immense effect of the social injustices that managed to attack the socially oppressed people in society during this time nor was I aware of the power of theater and art and its ability to provide a catharsis of the most oppressed emotions. This subject matter does have a relationship with something that happened in my own life with the people around me. The seek for truth displayed throughout this play also allowed me to connect to the characters more deeply and make them more relatable.

The Emotional Experience

On the left is a picture of me moments after the play ended and I had left the theater. On the right is a picture of the synopsis on the program that was handed to us.

The Divine provides us with the opportunity for katharsis because it presented a socially uncomfortable topic such as oppression, poverty, death, social injustice, and sexual abuse and allows us as an audience to become rapt with the story being presented and examine them being presented and released and it makes us want to release all of our inner emotions and come clean. These topics are not so easily discussed in real society but presenting them on a theater and having them slowly revealed and watching as the characters pursued a journey for the search of truth and justice sparked something within us as an audience to venture on our own search for truths that we are seeking in our own lives. Theater presents us with a way to reveal these social injustices on a stage acted out by professional actors in a realistic microcosm that forces us to think and reflect on our own lives and the issues plaguing our own society. I had different emotions upon entering the theater and those emotions were only enhanced upon my departure but there was also these hanging questions in my head that forced me to think and reflect on what exactly I had just seen.

All of the pictures presented in this Spark Story were taken by me.

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.