The year is 1606, and a miracle has occurred. Four men who have been dubbed the strongest in Venice have been tasked to move Albrecht Durer’s painting The Feast of the Rose Garlands from Venice to Prague, while avoiding Protestant iconoclasts on the way. Just as the men were indeed confronted by iconoclasts on their journey, the Virgin Mary came out of the painting.
It is these events that set the stage for Sean Dixon’s A God in Need of Help, currently playing in the Tarragon Theatre’s Mainspace, and directed by company Artistic Director Richard Rose.
The Archbishop of Milan (Greg Ellwand) and Magistrate of Venice (John Cleland) have been tasked to interrogate the men from the journey, and so these men testify, one by one. This provides an opportunity to highlight the talent of all actors involved, and deservingly so. The performances are compelling, particularly those of Tony Nappo, who plays Dolfin, and Jonathan Seinen, who plays Rafal.
Rose has placed the Archbishop’s throne in the audience’s area, giving us the idea that we are all to be judging these men and making our own decisions as to whether or not they witnessed a miracle. The frame of Durer’s painting, which is replicated and present throughout the entire piece, is versatile, and used in a number of ways throughout the production.
Dixon’s text is well-crafted, fast-paced and engaging, incorporating the ideas of the value of art and the Catholic / Protestant clash, without the piece becoming a history lesson. Whether or not the men witnessed a miracle is up to audience members to decide, but what audience members will certainly witness is compelling storytelling from beginning to end.
A God in Need of Help runs until May 25, 2014 at Tarragon Theatre’s Mainspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto. Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm, with Saturday 2:30pm matinees on April 26, May 3, May 10.
Tickets range from $21-$53 (including discounts for students, seniors and groups) AND a Pay-What-You-Can on April 16 at 8pm
- $13 Rush Tickets at the door Fridays (on sale at 6pm) & Sundays (on sale at 1pm) starting April 25 - For tickets, call Patron Services at 416.531.1827 or visit www.tarragontheatre.com.
photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann
featured in photo: Greg Ellwand, Tony Nappo, Alden Adair, Jonathan Seinen, Daniel Kash