FARMINGTON — The Mt. Blue High School Theater Company will present “The Miracle Worker,” the Tony Award-winning story of Helen Keller, May 7, 8 and 9.
This is the high-school troupe’s second disability-related play of the year. Last fall, MBTC performed “The Boys Next Door,” a humorous but occasionally violent study of mental disability. In contrast, “The Miracle Worker,” by William Gibson, is pure fun, an engaging story with a “miraculous” conclusion.
Jennifer Hinds plays Helen, who loses her sight and hearing after an illness as an infant. In desperation, her parents, Captain Keller (played by Sam Cohen) and Kate (Carolyn Magri), send for a teacher for Helen. Annie Sullivan (Louisa Stancioff) arrives with an optimistic attitude, but is not sure what the Kellers expect. And Helen is not what Annie expects.
Soon after meeting her, Helen locks Annie in her room, forcing Captain Keller to use a ladder to retrieve her in a memorable fashion. But Helen’s behavior does not deter Annie — it only encourages her.
In Act Two, Annie kicks the Keller family out of the breakfast room and attempts to teach Helen table manners. This long and uproarious scene ends with Helen, Annie, some scrambled eggs and a couple dozen spoons strewn on the stage floor.
The conclusion of Act Three features the famous “miracle” scene, in which Helen realizes that each physical object has a name. For this scene, the MBTC crew has set up a real, functioning water pump on the auditorium stage.
Gibson, who died in November 2008, derived his title from the words of Mark Twain, who said that “Helen is the miracle and Miss Sullivan the miracle worker.” Gibson described his play as a love letter to Sullivan. “The title was meant to show where my affections lay,” he said. “This stubborn girl of 20, who six years earlier could not write her name, and in one month salvaged Helen’s soul, and lived thereafter in its shadow, seemed to me to deserve a star bow.”
“The Miracle Worker” is unlike the many TV knockoffs of the story. Deeper themes are explored on the stage. Conflict and resolution are examined — Annie fights with haunting memories, Captain Keller fights with his son, James (played by Azriel Stinson), and Helen fights with her own lack of understanding.
“The Miracle Worker” is appropriate for all ages. Deborah Muise directs with Katie Rice assisting.
Performances will start at 7 p.m.. in the Mt. Blue High School Auditorium. Tickets are $2.50 for students, $4.50 for adults.


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