by Sean Dixon
directed by Richard Rose
1606 and Europe is at war over God. Venice’s four strongest men are charged with transporting a holy painting across the Alps to Prague. On their way, they are set upon by Protestant zealots—their escape is attributed to a miracle. Through this mystery Sean Dixon challenges the role of faith at the dawn of the Age of Reason.
Sean Dixon’s provocative and beautifully written play, A God In Need of Help, is a timely meditation on the nature of mythic storytelling, visual representation, and humankind’s thirst for singular narrative in the face of multi-vocal gods at war with each other. A fey, sturdy young man, with a group of varied brawny fellows, carries a sacred canvas across the Alps and all hell breaks loose as this assertive gentle fellow gradually reveals that he is party to what some might consider a rather miraculous delusion. Replete with magical wine, homoerotic tension, and intersecting plot lines hinting at the entwined persecution of witches and homosexuals, this complex telling of religious conflict is an intelligent and moving interrogation of all that is holy. What appears on the surface of a sacred canvas becomes an intricate play of truth and fiction as men fight for their lives and their gods.
Direction by Richard Rose is flawless as the pivotal canvas plays a starring role. Actors are simultaneously framed by and overwhelmed with the intensity of colour and size as they struggle with the presence of a religious empire that utilized visual imagery in order to re-assert Church presence, power and practice.
A powerful ensemble cast provides a strong, cohesive playing field for the playwright’s intricate commingling of religious fervor, human suffering, and homosocial tensions wrought from camaraderie and physical beauty. Greg Ellwand’s consistently sensitive yet assertive voice and physical presence as Borromeo holds the overall canvas together, leaving him, as a primary representative of the church, to consider the singular and lonely space he is left in after an arduous struggle to determine the true nature of faith, the presence of the gods, and the miracles that attend them.
RUNNING AT TARRAGON UNTIL MAY 25TH