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?
To get the answers and explore this mysterious world of Helen, Langley’s Trinity Western University (TWU) is inviting the public to its latest production – ‘The Miracle Worker.’ The project is the theatre department’s second last before it closes in Spring 2024.
Directed by associate professor of theatre Kate Muchmore Woo, the production is based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, ‘The Story of My Life.’
Woo described the show as “a labour of love for students and faculty.”
“There are only a handful of productions left before the theatre department closes, and we wanted to bring something to the stage that showcases our talented students and tells a story of hope and resilience. In this true story, we see the miraculous beginning of Helen Keller’s journey into her brilliant future, against all odds.”
Sen Longkumer, an international student from Nagaland, India and a second-year theatre student who plays Helen in the show, said the play is about “the need for communication – to understand and be understood – and what it can look like when we are stripped of this basic need. In Helen’s silent, sometimes violent cries for help, she sees how every person is blind and in need of a saviour figure filled with compassion, wisdom, and love.”
Grace Moore, a third-year theatre major, said she is learning “a lot” from playing Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher.
“Being able to open up these people and their emotions behind their history, achievement, and suffering has made me more interested in how gaps in communication are still around today.”
With a deep interest in learning American Sign Language (ASL), Moore said she was excited to learn some sign language for this production.
Trinity Western University’s theatre department in the School of the Arts, Media and Culture will present ‘The Miracle Worker,’ by William Gibson, from Thursday, Oct. 25 to Saturday, Nov. 5.
Tickets start from $8.01. For more information, people can visit twu.ca/theatre.
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