Sneak Preview Review: A GOD IN NEED OF HELP

by Lynn on April 24, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

A God in Need of Help

At the Tarragon Theatre, Mainspace. Toronto, Ont. Written by Sean Dixon. Directed by Richard Rose. Designed by Camellia Koo. Lighting by Kimberly Purtell. Sound by John Gzowski. Starring: Aiden Adair, Dmitry Chepovetsky, John Cleland, Greg Elwand, Daniel Kash, Tony Nappo, Jonathan Seinen with Daniel Giverin and Ben Irvine.

Plays at the Tarragon Theatre, Mainspace until May 25,

A beautifully written play that is part art-theft mystery, part political-religious intrigue, part mysterious miracle, that takes place in 1606 and is still relevant in 2014.

The Story. The focus of the play is Albrecht Durer’s religious painting, The Brotherhood of the Rosary.  In it the Virgin Mary and her infant son Jesus, are surrounded by a crowd of townsfolk, comprised of the very humble to the most powerful Pope and Emperor. Considering the religious opposition between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants, such a religious painting might be in danger. The Emperor wanted the four strongest men in Venice to physically carry the painting from Venice, over the Alps to Prague. They were accompanied by a soldier for their protection. He proves to be one of the dangers they have to endure.

Half way through the journey, in a little town, the five men are captured by a group of Protestant zealots. It seems two miracles occurred. First 56 people of the town swear that they saw the Virgin Mary carry her baby out of the painting. And the five men escaped. Also along the way there were plans to copy the painting and pass it off as authentic in Prague. All the intrigue of the journey got the interest of the Cardinal of Milan and a leading enforcer in Italy. The men were brought before an enquiry and each questioned about what happened.

Stories varied; lies were told; torture was used. Did miracles happen?

The Production. Richard Rose has directed a stylish, beautiful production. The clever use of the detachable frame that encased the painting suggests the burden of carrying it as well as the men’s involvement with the painting.

The cast is strong. As the Cardinal Greg Ellwand has that deceptive benign attitude that hides a sharp mind. As the ‘bad cop’, who makes no bones about hiding his power John Cleland as the ruthless enforcer Zen, is steely eyed, condescending and brutal.

Full review on Friday, CIUT 89.5FM Friday, April 25, 2014. From 9 am to 10 am.

Opened: April 23, 2014

Closes: May 25, 2014

To be published by Coach House Press: May 1, 2014

Cast: 9 men

Running Time:  2 hours, 5 minutes, one intermission

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