After a mysterious illness leaves 19-month-old Helen Keller deaf and blind, she is left to grow up in a world of silence and darkness. Trapped in what feels like a dense fog, her increasingly wild behaviour leaves her family desperate and helpless.
With no answers from doctors about how to reach her, their last hope is a doctor in Boston, who sends young Annie Sullivan, a working-class Irish girl with a haunted past, to teach Helen. From the start, the relationship between Annie and Helen is tumultuous, and sometimes violent – Will Annie be able to reach into Helen’s mind? Is communication possible?
Director and Associate Professor of Theatre, Kate Muchmore Woo, says this production is “a labour of love for our students and faculty.
“There are only a handful of productions left before the Trinity Western University Theatre department closes in spring 2024, and we wanted to bring something to the stage that showcases our last, talented students and tells a story of hope and resilience,” she says.
North Delta’s Leighton Hoffman, a second year theatre major who plays James, Helen’s older brother, reflects that “the values of patience, tolerance, and compassion are prevalent throughout the story. The Miracle Worker displays an intense journey from a prison of silence and darkness to the wonderful gift of communication and connection.”
This is Leighton’s second show at TWU, having appeared in last spring’s musical, Bright Star.
Val Mihelic, a graduating student from North Delta who plays Captain Keller, Helen’s father, says this play is about, “a family coming together and healing through communication, and a life being given a full chance to prosper.”
Mihelic appreciates that the characters are flawed and each have “moments of weakness and frailty, but are complicated and full.”
North Delta’s Aagaaz Sandhu plays Dr. Anagnos, the man who taught Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher.
This is Aagaaz’s first production at TWU, and he is excited to be on stage for the first time. Sandhu finds this show to be full of hope as it relays the hardships Helen faced in her early years, and Annie Sullivan’s determination to “never lose hope. Like God, Annie had a lot of patience and love for Helen no matter what challenges she had.”
Trinity Western University’s Theatre Department in the School of the Arts, Media + Culture presents The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, Oct. 25 to Nov. 5, the powerful story of perseverance, patience, and love based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life. Performances begin Oct. 25 with a Preview performance featuring free concessions. For tickets and info go to twu.ca/theatre.