Sean Dixon’s new play, A God in Need of Help, opens on Wednesday at Tarragon Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director, Richard Rose. This play takes its audience on a journey back to 1606, following the lives of four strong men who are being charged after carrying a religious painting from Venice to Prague, over the Alps, under the command of Rudolf II of Austria.
When asked about his inspiration for A God in Need of Help, Dixon describes how the story infiltrated into his life. While on his way from Prague to visit his wife on the Adriatic coast, Dixon found himself “smack in the middle of the Alps on a train, and [he] didn’t know it was the Alps…[he] was really blown away by them.” At the time, Dixon was reading a book and came across a passage about the aforementioned story of four men transporting the religious painting to Prague. He realized that he was in the Alps – the same place that the four men had traveled through. Dixon describes his experience: “It made that story – that idea – very visceral and real for me. I spent a lot of time just looking out the window, imagining those guys trekking over those huge, rocky mountains… I wanted to write a play about it.”
Dixon identifies one of his creative obsessions as exploring “how far somebody will go to maintain their beliefs.” Dixon states that growing up, as a Catholic, “[he] was religious, but very open-minded, which made [him] sympathetic to [people] who are in the grip of that passion.”
That is essentially what A God in Need of Help is all about: conflict of beliefs and how human beings find vital importance in adhering to their beliefs. Dixon states that “[religion] is at the center of what it means to be human…it gives them a reason for living.”
What audience members can expect from A God in Need of Help is a serious play infused with funny, human moments. Dixon’s characters are “stuck with the task of doing something they didn’t really ask for… you see them get to know each other and grow close together. [That] is something that is very satisfying”.
Dixon believes that plays are an intense experience of living through something. That is what this play provides. A moment in time depicting the struggle of human beings, both physically and spiritually. It doesn’t matter how many years have elapsed between this historical story and our present day lives. One thing is certain: human beings really don’t change much. The conflict of Dixon’s characters continues to be relevant to us today. As Dixon indicates, “that idea of religious beliefs…that’s something that is not going away in human nature any time soon.”
A God in Need of Help is running at Tarragon Theatre from April 23rd to May 25th. For tickets and more information, visit www.tarragontheatre.com.