I had the pleasure of seeing The Miracle Worker at Owens Auditorium last night. Having said those words, it does not seem to capture the experience. Maybe that’s because the experience captured me. I left that auditorium and drove away feeling forever changed by that performance.
The Miracle Worker is the story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Many of you have probably seen the movie or remake as have I, but last night was the first time I truly saw, heard, and felt the story. It was a performance I will never forget.
Lea DiMarchi (Annie Sullivan) and Allison Podlogar (Helen Keller) are magnificent guiding us through the turmoil and eventual triumph over the seemingly impossible. Annie Sullivan has been blind and wants to use her journey to help save Helen from being sent to an asylum. Annie’s salvation, she believes was language, and she wants to teach it to Helen. Helen has been so pitied and coddled by her parents that she pushes away anything that may change the life she has. Annie will have none of that and puts everything on the line to teach Helen.
The set was simplistic and perfect. As you follow the story, the set really melts into the background as you are led into the hearts and minds of the characters. You could feel the heart wrenching anguish as Lisa Riegel (Kate) realizes her precious child is blind and deaf and goes on to over-protect Helen from literally everything around her. John James (Capt. Keller) is Helen’s father. A man who demands control over everything around him and yet he has none with Helen. James slips into this role as if he has played it all his life. Lucas Iverson (James Keller) is the son of Capt. Keller and battles constantly for his voice to be heard by his father. He struggles constantly for the respect of his father and, in many case, what is best for Helen. The entire cast was remarkable.
This is a story of a teacher and her pupil. It reminds me once again, just how important teachers are in our lives. With the struggles that teachers are having, this play is a stark reminder that teachers change lives every single day.
So here is my challenge to you, Moore County. If you are a teacher, go see it. If you know a teacher, go see it. If you want to be a teacher, go see it. If your life has been forever changed by a teacher, go see it. Put down the TV remote tonight and learn what it’s like to truly be touched by a story. You will come away better for having done it.
And to Morgan Sills and your wonderful Judson Theatre, you change lives each and every time you bring your spectacular plays to Moore County.
Saturday Showtimes: 3pm Matinee and 8pm
Sunday Showtime: 3pm
For tickets: https://judsontheatre.com/buy-tickets/
Feature photo: Lea DiMarchi as Annie Sullivan, Allison Podlogar as Helen Keller
All photos by Tim Sayer. SayerPhotography.com