The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt Ali Victorio

The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt

The Divine: A Play For Sarah Bernhardt is social play that encompasses art, religion, and social standards in Quebec City in the year 1910. The play centers on the three days the actress Sarah Bernhardt spent in Quebec City, along with the story of a young seminarian, Talbot, as he makes his way through priesthood. The play highlights the different aspects of living during that time in Quebec City, one of which is the wide disparity within social classes. The Church was shown to have great influence over people at that time, accentuating how religion plays an important role in the decision making process of man. At the end, the play coincides with modern times to show how the arts play a role in today’s society.

The Spatial Experience

As I entered the Constans Theatre, I sensed a typical theatrical atmosphere around me. The dim lighting, the constant chattering of my neighbors all lead to create the anxious vibe I felt before the performance began. As a theatre spectator, I didn’t know as to what to expect during the performance. Whether I was to be disappointed or fascinated was unclear to me. As I finally took my seat, I looked around, and gazed over an auditorium filled with students, with almost the same purpose of being there. And, as the curtain raised, and the play began, I heard and saw different comments and reactions from all viewpoints from different parts of the theatre.

The large auditorium I was sitting in appeared to be a melting pot of different perspectives, with each student contributing their own unique critique on the play. This melting pot of ideas corresponds to the different people each individual meets on his or her path to achieve the Good Life. The diversity in the auditorium completely mimics diversity in the actual world. Each person from different backgrounds all brought together for the same reason - the quest to achieve the Good Life.

Each person that one meets holds distinct characteristics that could be greatly beneficial in one’s journey. Learning from the experiences of these people allow us to learn valuable knowledge applicable in our lives. Thus, slowly the knowledge we have directs us to enlightenment, peace, or to be frank, the Good Life.

The Social Experience

I attended the play with friends. It was nice to share somewhat the same opinions and viewpoints with people I am comfortable with, and that gave me ease all throughout the entire play. Experiences like these allow us to grow as people, with the assisted guidance of others. The journey, in fact, to the Good Life is something that is solely ours. The life we strive to achieve is solely for ourselves. Growing, and maturing to achieve is dependent on ourselves; however, it is inevitable that we receive guidance from other people when circumstances become unclear and unmanageable . In a way, like how Siddhartha guided Govinda to his path of enlightenment. We too as people must share the road with other people in the journey to getting the Good Life

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The Cultural and Intellectual Experience

The play portrayed the city of Quebec as a very Church-controlled city. Coming from the Philippines, a heavily Spanish-influenced city, the church takes part in a huge role in the lives of man. Through the play, one can see how the power of the church can easily influence the choices of people, either in a good or inauspicious manner. The plays touches on a deeper meaning on the actual lessons gained through the Church. The plot of the play addresses the double-sided façade that is that the priests show to people as a method of manipulation for personal gains.

In fact, this issue is not seen solely on the Catholic Church. This is widely evident in everyday situations, and we, as people, are either to naïve or oblivious to these scenes that we allow them to run our lives. After watching the play, my beliefs about this was further strengthened. It allowed me to further contemplate on different ways I can eliminate this, and start small, given my status as a student.

The Emotional Experience

The play allowed me to view Katharsis as a method of purification. The young Talbot made newfound plans to reestablish his life for the happiness of his family. The play allows us to contemplate on our lives and point out the mistakes we have made on the way. As easy as it seems, the play did touch on common issues found in the daily lives of man, and Katharsis can be carried on as our way of fixing our personal errors and misunderstandings. Through this manner, we get to learn from our mistakes, leading us to personal satisfaction. This in turn places us back on track to the journey to the Good Life.

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Ali Victorio
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