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

When you first walk into the lobby of the Constans Theatre, the atmosphere and the surroundings had a very modern feel. After waiting in line and entering the auditorium the mood changed. The dim lighting and the dark environment made me feel more calm compared to the noisiness of the lobby. I sat in the most forward section of the theatre in the center so I was able to see the entire play clearly. The set and acts sometimes extended past my row and went behind me so it felt as if we were really involved in the scene and the environment of the characters.

I attended the performance alone and while it may seem weird, I think it actually improved my experience of the play. A lot of people went with friends and I do not think they were really focused on the qualities of the performance and the environment as much as they as could have been. I was able to focus on the dialogue and characters while some audience members were distracted by their friends. After the performance I stayed after for the "talk back" section. The discussion section was a great way to allow the audience to connect and understand the actors and actresses; How they went on to produce the performance and their personal thoughts on the story itself.

The setting of the play was in Quebec, Canada, and the set portrayed the weather conditions and architecture in that location. The main theme of the play was about going against the current social norms. The characters in this story had to decide whether to go with the current conditions and keep quiet or join the worker revolution and tell their story. The acts that took place in the factory and the events that occurred was a large part in showing the audience the worker experience and the struggles of the people in poverty.

This play allowed tackled the uncomfortable issue of sexual abuse as well as the issues of poverty and the impoverished. The performance begged the question, "Should uncomfortable issues/stories be told or kept quiet?" The play is an example of catharsis because it displays the multiple perspectives people have towards controversial social and political topics. It allows the audience to see and recognize how different experiences lead to different opinions and different courses of actions. I also believe theatre is an excellent way of showing different human qualities and we can learn and make our own judgments on those qualities. Therefore when people say The Arts are not important subjects that should be funded, taking them to see performances such as this one would really enlighten them and open their mind to how it can impact our lives.


Photos by Albert Tieu

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