The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt An Evening at the Constans Theatre


AUBREe stillman spark story

The audience was captivated by a story of truth and the search for justice.

IUF 1000

Good Life Performance

January 20, 2017

Ms. Menezes

(cover photo Playbill)
We are excited for the performance! I am in the lobby with Saher Kidwai. (I have written permission to use this photo.)

The Spatial Experience

Upon entering the Constans Theater, I was stimulated by the large audience, the laughter of friends, and the energized atmosphere. There was a very long line for entrance, and I was excited by the popularity of the performance. The lobby was eclectic, with a combination of modern sculpture and stage equipment. It was welcoming for all ages. The theater was a perfect size, small enough to feel cozy, but large enough to avoid feeling cramped. My seat was in the center orchestra, second from the aisle, stage left, with a perfect view of the stage. My location close to the stage contributed to feeling drawn into the performance. As I looked at the stage, I was taken back by the beautiful stained glass windows in purple and blue hues, setting the scene of the The Grand Seminary. When the lights dimmed and the murmuring stopped, I was filled with anticipation for the beginning of the play. Being in the theatre at this moment made me grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in a story that would open my mind to human challenges and social controversies.

Modern sculpture in Constans Theatre adds to the atmosphere of creativity and self expression.
Theatre equipment positioned in the Theatre lobby made me think about all the preparation required to produce a performance on the stage.
Artwork in the Theatre lobby intrigued me with its various shapes, patterns, and contrast of black and white.

The Social Experience

I attended the performance with Marc Francese, Melissa Gurney, and Samantha Micallef. I got ready for the performance myself and met my friends in the lobby. Attending activities with friends enhances the overall experience. At the front of the lobby, while waiting in line, I met some new friends, Saher Kidwai and Tiffany Okorochukwu. I enjoyed sitting together and sharing the experience with them. I discussed the performance among friends, which brought insight into the meaning and content of the story. My friends relayed their perspectives of the play, and I shared my observations. The interaction was helpful to obtain a deeper understanding of the play. I also enjoyed hearing their opinions on the subject matter in the play and the overall performance. The entire experience tightens the bond of friendship. The theatre brings people together by way of a shared experience. I am thankful for the opportunity to have met some new friends.

Here, I am pictured with Saher, Tiffany, and Samantha. We are standing in line to enter the Theatre. (I have written permission to use this photo.)
Samantha and I are enjoying seeing each other and catching up prior to entering the theatre. (I have written permission to use this photo.)
Melissa and I enjoyed catching up in the lobby! We enjoyed the show. (I have written permission to use this photo.)
This is a picture of Marc and I in the lobby after the performance. (I have written permission to use this photo.)

The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

Although the play's setting is Quebec City in 1905, I believe the theme of justice and discovering personal morals and ethics is relevant to any time period and place. The plot portrays the conflicting priorities of religion, the theatre, and business. The inequalities of the social system, combined with the inhumane conditions in factories, are contrasted on stage. The life of the privileged, such as Sarah Bernhardt, a wealthy actress, is starkly contrasted to the intolerable circumstances of the poverty stricken, the workers in the shoe factory. The story reinforces the sacrifice and decisions people make to pursue their personal idea of the good life. The audience becomes aware of the moral and ethical struggles people faced in the early 20th century. The story brings to light how opinions can change when viewing a situation from the outside compared to being enlightened by the truth. I was aware of the hardships and child labor abuse that occurred in the factories, however this story made it personal and so much more powerful than reading about it in history books. Watching this play made me feel fortunate.

Cast members discuss the production and characters in the "talk back."

Emotional Experience

The Divine presents several topics which ask the audience to reflect on past societal practices such as work factories, child labor laws, and social oppression and how they might relate to the current environment. Certainly, unjust labor conditions is a topic that makes audience members uncomfortable when they really stop to think about people's experiences and existence under exhausting and uncomfortable conditions. Social inequalities is also an issue some people may prefer to avoid. Facing the truth can be difficult. Many of the characters in this play lived their lives justifying their behavior, however, they eventually had to "come clean" by facing the consequences of their choices. Watching this play creates a moment of self evaluation. It stimulates the audience to reflect on their actions and whether they follow their personal moral and ethical values. After the play, I felt sad thinking about the harsh working conditions people faced, especially the young children. I also became more aware of the struggles, both physical and emotional, faced by those who are disadvantaged. This experience gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own values and reinforced the importance of helping others.

Leaving the Constans Theatre after a wonderful evening!
Created By
Aubree Stillman

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