Synopses & Reviews
Quebec City, 1908. Two priests-to-be are ordered to deliver a letter to a controversial visitor to their city: the legendary French actress, Sarah Bernhardt.']
As part of her long career, Bernhardt - known to her loyal fans as “The Divine” - visited Canada several times between 1880 and 1917, most often visiting Montreal, but once - just once - alighting in Quebec City. It is this singular historic visit, about which little is known, that Bouchard takes as the backdrop for his play, exploring conservative and progressive veins in competition through turn-of-the-century North America, with a focus on Quebec, that province on the verge of great change.
Michaud, the son of the provinces minister of finance, is a theatre lover. Talbot, on the other hand has arrived at the seminary on the very day of Bernhardts arrival in town, he comes from a family struggling with poverty and clearly has more pressing concerns. The two are ordered to deliver a letter from the Archbishop forbidding Bernhardt to appear on stage at any point during her one and only visit to Quebec City, on the grounds that she has decided to perform a play in which Adrienne Lecovreur “sings the praises of adulterous love” and “ridicules a man of the cloth portrayed as a plotting habitué of Parisian salons.”
And so the stage is set for a battle for the hearts and minds of Quebeckers through these two seminarians: the powerful Catholic Church on one side, and the power of the divine Sarah Bernhardt - and the world of the theatre - on the other.
The Divine was commissioned for the 2015 Shaw Festival in honour of George Bernard Shaw and everyone who loves the theatre, and in memory of Sarah Bernhardt, “the woman who dares to say everything that should be left unsaid.”
Cast of five women and eight men.
Two priests-to-be in Quebec City are are ordered to deliver a letter to actress Sarah Bernhardt, forbidding her from performing.
Two priests-to-be, Talbot and Michaud, in turn-of-the-century Quebec City, are pitted against one another in a battle for the hearts and minds of Quebeckers when ordered to deliver a letter from the Archbishop to the legendary French actress, The Divine” Sarah Bernhardt, forbidding her to appear on stage at any point during her one and only visit to the city.
French actress Sarah Bernhardt's visit to Quebec City in 1908 sparks a battle for the hearts and minds of Quebeckers when a Catholic Archbishop asks them to deliver orders forbidding her to appear onstage.
Cast of 5 women and 8 men.
About the Author
Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard
emerged on the professional theatre scene in 1985. Since then he has written twenty-five plays and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including, in June 2012, the prestigious National Order of Quebec for his contribution to Quebec culture, and, in 2005, the Order of Canada. He has also received le Prix Littéraire du Journal de Montréal, Prix du Cercle des critiques de lOutaouais, the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Chalmers Award for Outstanding New Play. Translated into nine languages, Bouchards bold, visionary works have represented Canada at major festivals around the world.
Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal. Her translations of plays by Quebecs most prominent playwrights have been published and produced across Canada and abroad. In her work as a literary manager and dramaturge, she has directed numerous translation residencies and international exchange projects. She was the founding director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Gaboriau has twice won the Governor Generals Award for Translation.