The Miracle Worker

I once went a little overboard in the helping with a school project department. Jennifer got an assignment during elementary school that had something to do with creating a work of art about a famous person. The person was Helen Keller, and the project became a giant quilt of sorts with squares depicting various experiences in Keller’s life.

We’ve still got the nine-panel piece, framed in a beautiful mahogany-colored shadow box I’m afraid to hang because the darn thing is so heavy. I’ll have to give it another look, now that news of a local production of “The Miracle Worker” has crossed my path.

Turns out Scottsdale Community College is presenting the William Gibson work this semester, and holding auditions for select cast members early this week. Randy Messersmith, head of the SCC theatre arts department, is working to cast five girls ages five to 15 to portray five blind children in the play.

Playwright William Gibson based the 1957 play on Keller’s autobiography, titled “The Story of My Life” back in the good old days before every woman whose name starts with a K felt her life story needed 24/7 coverage.

“The Miracle Worker”opened on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre in October of 1959 and earned the 1960 Tony Award for best play. It starred Patty Duke, who recently directed a production of “The Miracle Worker” for Interplayers Professional Theatre in Spokane, as Helen Keller. Plenty of productions, and a 1962 film, were done in between.

Most of us worry we’d never survive a day without luxuries like cars, televisions, computers and cell phones. It might be good for all of us to revisit the story of Helen Keller, who did just fine without the sight or hearing lost due to illness when she was just a toddler.

If you’re the parent of a young girl or teen who’d enjoy being part of SCC’s production of “The Miracle Worker,” take note of auditions scheduled for this Monday and Tuesday. They’re being held Jan. 30 from 6-9pm and Jan. 31 from 3:3o-7:30pm. Messersmith tells me auditioners can just show up — no appointment is needed.

No need for a monologue, adds Messersmith. Auditions consist of cold readings from the script. Auditions are being held at the SCC Performing Arts Center Mainstage, located at 9000 E. Chaparral Rd. in Scottsdale. Auditioners are asked to enter through the main lobby.

I hope the aspiring actors who take part will leave auditions feeling inspired to learn more about the life and times of Helen Keller. No quilting required.

— Lynn

Note: For comprehensive information about Valley auditions for youth and adults, visit Durant Communications at www.durantcom.com.

Coming up: The fine art of Valentine’s Day, Cell phones in the afterlife?, A trio of “39 Steps”

Artwork by Jenn Trimble (Photos by Lynn Trimble)

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One response to “The Miracle Worker

  1. This is a great opportunity for young actors to get their feet wet in the acting scene. My daughter’s first encounter with theatre was portraying the youngest blind girl in the The Miracle Worker at age 5. She is now in Randy’s program at SCC and has played the role of Helen in her now twelve year journey in theatre.

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