The DivineFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889229587 | paperback / softback

$16.95 | 96 pages | Pub. Date: 2015
5.5 W × 8.5 H × .75 D inches
Drama | Backlist | Bisac: DRA013000
ISBN 13: 9780889229587 | Rights: WORLD

The Divine
A Play for Sarah Bernhardt
By Michel Marc Bouchard
Translated by Linda Gaboriau

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 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 of five women and eight men.

“Michel Marc Bouchard's play quivered with sexual tension. A five-alarm blaze.”
– Gary Smith, The Hamilton Spectator

“the most extraordinary play of the [2015 Shaw] festival … always compelling, and even intensely moving. Surely this play has a solid future.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“a fascinating, moving, ambitious piece of theatre”
– NOW Toronto

By Michel Marc Bouchard

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.

photo: Julie Perreault

Read more about Michel Marc Bouchard



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news | 2016-01-05
Best of 2015

…Michel Marc Bouchard’s turn-of-the-century play, The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt. Here are his …


news | 2015-08-05
Rave reviews for The Divine, now playing at the Shaw Festival

…“best work.” The Globe and Mail insists that The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt justifies the … theatre festival for which it was commissioned. The Divine, written by Michel Marc Bouchard and translated … feet with only a few wobbles, quickly righted … The Divine is a rebuttal to its own criticisms about theatre …


news | 2015-07-15
Miracle on stage: See turn-of-the-century actress Sarah Bernhardt at this year’s Shaw Festival

…is ready right on time; Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt (translated by Linda … Sarah Bernhardt – known to her loyal fans as “The Divine” – visited Canada several times between 1880 and … that province on the verge of great change. The Divine was commissioned for the 2015 Shaw Festival in …


news | 2015-07-06
Translator Linda Gaboriau a newly minted Member of the Order of Canada

…appointment. Gaboriau most recently translated The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt by Michel Marc …