Students provide moving performance in Cowley's fall play "The Miracle Worker"
Packed with a truly moving storyline and riveting action, students in Cowley College’s Theatre Department gave an amazing performance in this year’s fall play “The Miracle Worker,” which was held Oct. 7-9 in the Robert Brown Theatre.
Performing each night in front of large audiences, the literary classic, which won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Play, told the true story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute, Helen Keller.
Cowley College sophomores Amy Dunlap and Shaelynn French shined in the roles of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Watching Annie work with Helen in an attempt to rescue her from the dark, tortured silence was full of intense physical and emotional dynamism.
“This play has created a lasting impact on our cast,” Director of Theatre and Theatrical Services, Scott MacLaughlin said. “I couldn’t have been more pleased with the final product.”
Annie’s work with Helen eventually pays off and leads to the climactic moment when Helen utters one glorious word. This heartwarming story sent the audience away inspired.
“The acting, direction, stagecraft and lighting were superior,” Cowley College president Dr. Patrick J. McAtee said. “The college is proud of the dedicated faculty, staff and students that worked so hard to make this play one of our best.”
Along with Amy Dunlap (Annie Sullivan) and Shaelynn French (Helen Keller), other cast members were: Aaron Brooks (Captain Keller), Anne Harmon (Kate Keller), William Wegele (James Keller), Rachel Curtiss (Aunt Ev), Eric Denning (Mr. Anagnos), Jilysa Daniel (Martha), Jordan Hill (Percy), Kalon Steinway (Viney), and Dylan Muilenburg (The Doctor). The school children were played by Tracey Marr, Anne Bloyer, Rebecca Munoz, Jade Sparks, Jilysa Daniel, and Krista Whitmore.
“I thought the students did an incredible job with a very difficult script,” MacLaughlin said.
Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, AL. When Helen was only 19 months old she contracted a violent sickness that left her completely blind and deaf. After numerous years of putting her hands on Annie’s face and placing her fingers inside Annie’s mouth to recognize words that were spoken, Helen went on to use a full vocabulary as well as become an excellent typist. She could use a standard typewriter as well as a braillewriter.
In 1925, Helen delivered an inspirational speech to the Lions Club to adopt vision loss as its primary focus for community service.
“We learned a tremendous amount about the historical background of the characters through producing this play,” MacLaughlin said. “I feel it has been one of our best plays to date.”