February 24 - March 11, 2012
Dramatizes the breakthrough moment when Annie Sullivan reaches the young Helen Keller with language and communication. Keller’s family stands in the way as they feel sorry for her and would rather treat her like a sad, disabled pet who doesn’t know any better. Exciting scenes when Annie (played by Amy Hall) literally BATTLES the young girl, who always gets her way by throwing temper tantrums. Great scene with Helen throwing spoons and eggs, slapping and fighting. Annie throws a pitcher of water on her. Eventually she gets the family to agree to isolate her in a building on the property so she can break the child’s will and really reach her intellectually. Several touching “goosebumps” moments, especially at the end when Helen gets it and experiences exhilaration and joy at really understanding the outside world. There were tears in the audience and several standing at the end. A full house for opening night.
Great performance by Amy Hall, playing Sullivan really works for her as Annie is an odd type of outsider. She grew up in an asylum, was blind for a lot of her life. She does not want Helen to be trapped in ignorance. She is strong and quirky, the miracle chance that Helen needed.
Lexie Watkins at 10 years old is INCREDIBLE as Helen Keller and deserves an acting nomination. She is the play.
Angela Poncetta gave a touching performance as Helen’s mother. She really pulled at my heartstrings as a parent. Her challenge of loving Helen too much to discipline her, but at the same time fighting to let Annie do her painful work to break her…is a great dramatic experience.
Don Mcpherson and Taylor Lozano were solid as Helen’s father “The Captain” and half brother. For my taste I would have enjoyed the show more if these two characters were slightly more sympathetic. As the only two men they are very hot tempered. Taylor was great at the end when his character finally used his perspective to support Annie Sullivan and stand up to both parents.
The Captain is described as being a “tyrant” so he needs to be staunch, but he comes off as being uncaring and ignorant, which I don’t think he was. It would have been nice to see a moment of contemplation somewhere or some more lines that were not yelled at least. As it was his character seemed the play’s villain, almost, and I don’t think there needed to be a villain character. The villain needs only be the well-meaning ignorance of the time and family. Those challenges are quite enough for Annie and Helen to fight.
As for the rest, the smaller parts were good. Julia Stansbury as the haughty Aunt, Guin as the maid. Miscellaneous kids. I liked the light touch of the music, instrumental guitar and banjo and such. Rode a perfect line by not coloring the time or mood too much. Almost old fashioned and quaint, but keeping the setting of immediacy so you aren’t watching mere history.
Bakersfield Californian Article:
Official Show Information:
The Empty Space is proud to present the classic American drama, THE MIRACLE WORKER.
Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, THE MIRACLE WORKER tells the incredible true story of Helen Keller, a young girl afflicted with both blindness and deafness, and Annie Sullivan, the extraordinary teacher who must find a way for Helen to learn. As Sullivan struggles to reach Helen, she must also contend with the obstacles in her pupil’s family, namely a domineering patriarch resistant to change, a young mother who loves too much, and a resentful brother.
THE MIRACLE WORKER is a riveting, compelling, inspirational story that has moved audiences for decades.
THE MIRACLE WORKER cast features Lexie Watkins, Amy Hall, Angela Poncetta, don mcpherson, Taylor Lozano, Julia Stansbury, Guinevere PH Dethlefson, Sequoia Whitten, Miller McCraw, Janice Bondurant, Lily Bogges, Ada Stern, Nayeli Diaz, Chancee Lucio, Madison Castro, and Riley Thompson, and is directed by The Empty Space’s artistic director Bob Kempf.
THE MIRACLE WORKER plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm February 24 - March 10, and closes on March 11 with a 2pm matinee. The doors open thirty minutes before show time.
Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors.
Call 661-327-PLAY for reservations.