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.

By Michel Marc Bouchard

Sophie Bienvenu is a Québécois writer. After studying visual communication in Paris, she settled in Quebec in 2001 and quickly established herself as a successful blogger. Et au pire, on se mariera (La Mèche) her first novel, was followed by Chercher Sam (translation forthcoming from Talonbooks, 2019), and Autour d’elle, translated as Around Her by Rhonda Mullins (Talonbooks, 2018). Ceci n’est pas de l’amour (This Is Not Love) was her first poetry collection, published in 2016 by Poètes de brousse. Bienvenu’s writing takes its readers on an emotional journey, an intense exploration of profoundly human characters, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Read more about Michel Marc Bouchard


Translated by Linda Gaboriau

Sophie Bienvenu is a Québécois writer. After studying visual communication in Paris, she settled in Quebec in 2001 and quickly established herself as a successful blogger. Et au pire, on se mariera (La Mèche) her first novel, was followed by Chercher Sam (translation forthcoming from Talonbooks, 2019), and Autour d’elle, translated as Around Her by Rhonda Mullins (Talonbooks, 2018). Ceci n’est pas de l’amour (This Is Not Love) was her first poetry collection, published in 2016 by Poètes de brousse. Bienvenu’s writing takes its readers on an emotional journey, an intense exploration of profoundly human characters, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Read more about Linda Gaboriau


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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 …