The Miracle Worker prepares for play tonight
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You may have heard of Helen Keller, but you have never seen a group of students perform her life story, The Miracle Worker, showcased on Dec. 16 and 17.
“The Miracle Worker is an incredibly powerful show that is important on many levels,” senior Maya Lazarus says. “The show is about communication and love in a time of frustration and despair.”
Following the true story of Helen Keller, played by sophomore Olivia Nicholson, the Miracle Worker, portrays the story of a young blind and deaf child learning to communicate. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, played by sophomore Tess Dinerstein, teaches her sign language by signing messages into her hand.
The show is very physical and contains many interactions between Nicholson and Dinerstein. This makes the preparation and practice different from any other play the students have acted in. Between the actors and directors, it requires substantial character discussion.
The actors have completed an abundance of research to learn about their characters and really get into the role. “I explored my room in the dark because I wanted to create the image of my room by only touching,” Nicholson says. “This helped me to learn what it’s like to touch first.”
The staging for this production is minimal due to the rapidly changing time frame and various settings. This allows more focus to be places on the characters themselves.
Two strong women star in this production.. “Neither of the women are concerned with romance, and that’s something we rarely see in theatre,” Dinerstien says.
However, the play isn’t exactly the same as the story. Carney has developed it into a more contemporary Evanston feel, while still keeping the traditional message and costuming.
“The idea is that one must not give up when facing a seamlessly hopeless situation,” Carney says. “This family was faced with how to deal with her and were very close to sending her to a instatuation.”
Although there has been controversy around the country over this play in passed productions, being that a non-deaf nor non-blind person was casted as the role of Keller, Carney believes this take will not offend any viewers.
“If you treat something with respect and do it from the heart in a way that is meant to do good, it is justifiable,” Carney says. “But if you make a mockery and rely on stereotypes, then that is an issue.”
Nicholson will not talk throughout the entire play, except for one scene. “My biggest challenge was to convey her feelings so the audience can understand her,” Nicholson says. “As rehearsals went on, I felt trapped in Helen’s mind, but I soon realized that my facials expression had to be bigger— 1000 times bigger.”
Many of the other actors and actresses will use the sign language alphabet to communicate. This production will take place Dec. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Theatre. Tickets cost six dollars for students and eight dollar for adults.