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The Miracle Worker
a Drama
by William Gibson

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5086

SHOWING : June 08, 2017 - June 25, 2017



Young Helen Keller, blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is in danger of being sent to an institution. Her inability to communicate has left her frustrated and violent. In desperation, her parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, which sends them a “half-blind Yankee schoolgirl” named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Through persistence and love, and sheer stubbornness, Annie breaks through Helen’s walls of silence and darkness and teaches her to communicate.

Director Mercury
Aunt Ev Pat Bell
James Keller Dane Croxton
Viney Ahsha Daniels
Helen Keller Kealy Ford
Doctor, Anagnos Doug Mills
Captain Keller Dan Reichard
Kate Keller Julie Trammel
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by playgoer
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
William Gibson’s "The Miracle Worker" takes place primarily at the home of Captain Keller and his family. The set Mercury has designed for Gypsy Theatre Company’s production places all the locations on a unit set with a couple of movable portions. Far stage right are a fixed porch and, above it, a bedroom. Far stage left is the exterior of a garden shed that unfolds near the end to show its interior. A functioning water pump in the yard is down center, with the facade of the house behind it. For scenes within the dining room, the facade lifts up into the flyspace to reveal the room. It’s a highly functional set, enhanced by Joel Coady’s lighting design and by Mercury’s evocative sound design that covers scene changes and provides underscoring from time to time. A very nice set of props accommodates the action, notably a step stool on the porch that converts to an ironing board for one brief segment. This is a handsome production.

Costumes, by Danielle Gustaveson, add to the visual appeal of the production. They set the time period of the 1880s and have enough variety to suggest the wealth of the Keller family. Pat Bell’s wig as Aunt Ev is a bit wiggy in look, but otherwise the hairstyles reinforce the time period. The actors carry their costumes well.

Of course, a production needs more than its outer trappings. And in this case, Mercury’s direction and the performances of the actors bring this biography of Helen Keller’s early years to sparkling life. Douglas Miles is fine in the roles of the Doctor and of teacher Anagnos, although his carrying of a pipe as both characters blurs the clear distinction his vocal accents make. Pat Bell isn’t quite loud enough as Aunt Ev, although her character comes across clearly. Ahsha M. Daniels is a delight as the servant Viney, and Dane Croxton makes Helen’s half-brother James a sympathetic, inwardly steadfast character. Julie Trammel and Dan Reichard, as Helen’s parents, both make strong impressions, and Kealy Ford is a marvel as Helen. The play rests on the shoulders of Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, and Christina Leidel inhabits the character with a lilt and an iron backbone that make the audience admire and adore her.

The production takes its time; it has two intermissions. But this is a production that takes us into its world, holds us there, and releases us only as the play concludes, with tears filling the eyes of many audience members. This is an affecting, effective production that is closing out Gypsy Theatre Company in a magnificent manner that is likewise bringing tears to the eyes of audience members grateful for its fine productions over the ten years of its operation. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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