Weekend Showcase: Yellow Tree Theatre produces “The Miracle Worker”
Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo kicks off it’s 11th year with a “The Miracle Worker.”
The play tells the powerful story of Anne Sullivan’s struggle to teach Helen Keller to communicate. Helen was blind and deaf.
“The plays been around for a while,” said director Patrick Coyle. “When Jessica and Jason asked me to direct “The Miracle Worker,” I was excited because it was one of those sort of seminal films that I watched in my youth and it stuck with me. I think I was five years old when I saw it in the mid 60s and that incredibly powerful story stuck with me. I never forgot it.”
The play takes place in 1887, when Helen was seven years old. Helen’s parents did not know how to communicate or discipline the girl, so the child was hard to handle. Helen was prone to outbursts and wild tantrums.
“The role was definitely a challenge,” says 12-year-old Catie Bair, who plays the role of Helen.
The Kellers called Anne Sullivan to come down to Alabama from Boston in a last ditch effort to try to break through to their child. This was the family’s final effort before institutionalizing Helen. Kiara Jackson plays Anne Sullivan and says the role was a challenge as well. To prepare, she watched videos of other actors portraying Anne and Helen’s friendship. She learned finger-spelling.
“I feel like every member of that family is just yearning to be heard and to be seen,” says Coyle, the director. “Finally, the miracle happens for the whole family.”
Coyle does an expert job directing this challenging piece of theater. Everything from the casting, to the set, and the lighting is just perfect.
“The Miracle Worker” is onstage now through October 14th at Yellow Tree Theatre in Osseo.