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The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt

The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Michel Marc Bouchard
Translated by: Linda Gaboriau
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 160
Pub. Date: 2015
ISBN-10: 0889229589
ISBN-13: 9780889229587
About the Play:

Quebec City, 1905. 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 province's minister of finance, is a theatre lover. Talbot, on the other hand has arrived at the seminary on the very day of Bernhardt's 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: 5 women, 8 men

What people say:

"It's [Bouchard's] best work, and the most exciting new Canadian play in years. ... Sex embraced or coerced, religion used or abused, exploitation industrial and institutional, theatre celebrated and satirized and satirizing itself: it's a heady mix, and I wondered halfway through if the ingredients could be kept in balance. It turns out that they can. This is a play with an all-conquering narrative drive and an abundance of twists; there are no unabsorbing moments." - National Post

"a fascinating, moving, ambitious piece of theatre" - NOW Toronto

About the Playwright:

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 l'Outaouais, the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Chalmers Award for Outstanding New Play. Translated into nine languages, Bouchard's bold, visionary works have represented Canada at major festivals around the world.

About the Translator:

Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montréal. Her translations of plays by Quebec's 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 General's Award for Translation: in 1996, for Daniel Danis' Stone and Ashes, and in 2010, for Wajdi Mouawad's Forests

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