A miracle in itself

A review of The Hollis Brookline Theater Department’s The Miracle Worker

Julie Christie, Editor-in-Chief

They’ve done it again. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson is more than an accomplishment–it’s a miracle in itself. The passion that the actors and actresses poured into this production equates to more than what words can say, a huge testament to Elyse Tomlinson’s reputation as the outstanding director of Hollis Brookline’s Theater Department.

The Miracle Worker tells the story of young Annie Sullivan, a teacher of blind girls who was once blind herself. After meeting a child named Helen Keller, Sullivan is in for the challenge of a lifetime as she attempts to teach the blind and deaf girl how to communicate. Sullivan faces adversity from Keller’s southern family, who would rather let their daughter rule the house with chaos than attempt to teach her language.

The first sign of this play’s stellar achievement is hidden in plain view: the set. It’s simple, southern, quaint. The best part, however, is the presence of several streams of quotes that have been so subtly placed near the water fountain. These quotes are, of course, from Helen Keller and add yet another level to this already intricately deep play.

And then there’s the acting. Annie Sullivan (portrayed by Natalie Haytayan ‘15) and Helen Keller (Ava Occhialini ‘17) are forces of nature. Together, they deliver a performance so intense, it’s hard to look away. Haytayan acts with as much passion and determination as Sullivan must have had herself, while Occhialini communicates the entire emotional spectrum without uttering a single word. The supporting actresses and actors were equally stunning. Anna Giles ‘15, started off the whole show by practically bringing the entire audience to tears as she discovers that baby Helen isn’t all that she had hoped for. Erin Hattamer ‘15, reprises her status as comic relief, but in a subtle way as the aunt of Helen Keller. Jacob Scali ‘15, and Christopher Lazich ‘15, butt heads throughout the performance as the father and half-brother of Helen.

All in all, it’s a profound performance that ended much too soon for my liking. These actors and actresses could have stayed on the stage for seven hours and I would have still been riveted.

The Miracle Worker is playing this Friday and Saturday, November 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets cost $15, student tickets $10.