“The Miracle Worker,” a play based on the life of Helen Keller

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Dordt theater students will take the stage to perform to perform The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan on Wednesday, February 27 through Saturday, March 2.

Miracle Worker tells the story of Annie Sullivan, a young teacher sent to the home of Helen Keller, a blind and deaf child. Senior Shannon Spargo stars as Annie alongside senior Brittany Arkema as Helen.

“[Annie] is fighting for Helen–fighting for her sight and the light to break into her soul,” said Spargo. The play shows the struggle and conflicting personalities of Annie and Helen as they work together to educate Helen.

The 15-member cast has been working hard since January. “Producing a play is full of hundreds of moving parts and I am so thankful for all of the hard work from the actors, designers, costumers, set builders, and everyone else involved,” said Director Josiah Wallace. “I am particularly pleased with Brittney and Shannon’s efforts. Not only do they bear the brunt of the work when it comes to some very physically and emotionally challenging acting, they spend a lot of time working on the set on which they will soon perform.”

The actors have worked hard and have come across some challenges. “[Annie] is much stronger willed than I am,” said Spargo.  “It’s been hard for me to just throw aside common courtesy and niceness for the greater purpose of reaching Helen.”

Wallace has been pushing the actors to do their best. “I make the actors work hard every night, and they have bruises and sleep deprivation to prove it,” said Wallace. “I encourage actors to spend time exploring possibilities in rehearsal and then encourage them to keep things or try new things throughout the process.  It is very much a process of collaboration in which actor and director both contribute.”

The show will be held in the TePaske Theatre. “Stage combat is definitely a highlight of the show, and the plot never stops moving,” said Spargo. “Personally, I think Dordt students should come see this phenomenal show, if only to see Helen Keller get pushed around on stage.”

Not only does Miracle Worker have action to offer, but it also has a deeper, more emotional message to share. “My hope is that the audience will delight in the play’s action and be moved by the characters’ struggles and breakthroughs,” said Wallace. “This play is very much about asking for emotional investment from its audience, and I desire for the actors and every part of our production to be worthy of that investment by offering up a truly powerful piece of theatre.”

Lauren Bird, Staff Writer

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