The Cultural and Intellectual Experience
The play was quite interesting as it was about the church, social justice and censorship. Focused around the french actress, Sarah Bernhardt, and two local seminarians in the City of Quebec, the story was complex and was based on a true story. I appreciated the play's message of social justice and the promotion of the press and speech. Issues of child labor and censorship from the authorities was approached and appropriately answered. Being based in Quebec during the turn of the 20th Century, these issues are still significant modern day, as they are still around. Child labor is still and issue in 3rd world countries in sweat shops and powerful authorities, such as the church, still cover the citizens voices and hide the truths to protect its own institution rather than the greater good.
As discussed in the talk-back, the actors gave an important perspective on the play as they said "No one wants to be the bad guy". This statement helped me realize that no one sees themselves as the bad side and opened up my perspectives to all the characters and their actions within the play. Sarah Bernhardt wished to expose the church and their in-just actions through her play. Michaud was exposed to Talbot's story and wished to spread his story and tell the police of the priest's crimes. The Boss wanted to provide clothing at a cheap price that people could afford and run a successful business, at the cost of child labor. From all these perspectives listed out, the actors made me more open minded about all the characters intentions.
The Emotional Experience
The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt provides a catharsis for everyone involved, by all the topics covered. Whether it be a religious, political or an economic issue, one of them would impact the viewer. Personally for me, the problems of the rich ruling over the working class and the censorship of the truth is what made me the most uncomfortable. I find it wrong that the church was covering up the sins of their own to protect itself, while they threatened the victims of child molestation and protected the actual sinner. It was a paradox, as the priests who preach of redemption were the ones hiding their own inner sins and horrible pasts left unspoken. For the economic injustices, I was also left with a sour taste in my mouth as the Boss treated Mrs. Talbot and her coworkers as lesser beings and merely cogs in a machine. He didn't care about them or their well being, only the business and fame. Greed corrupted him and he lost his humanity while chasing after money and superficial, materialistic things.
The worst thing to think about is how these issues are still around modern day and people are still falling victim to them. There are kids who are still in sweat shops making the clothes we wear cheap as we are usually oblivious of how they are actually made. Then, in politics nowadays, people lie left and right and voices are being buried. Global warming isn't real? Women don't have the rights to their own bodies? We need to bomb the middle east? We need to forget our origins and stop immigration into the USA? I hate to see so many executive acts being taken against many people's voices, making us feel censored and helpless at times. Art as a medium, helps express our discontent on societal issues, as it is left for interpretation for the viewer and their mind's freedom cannot be censored. We cannot find the Good Life with censorship. A Good Life is uncensored and free.