4 | FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2017 BIG ISLAND ENTERTAINMENT SCENE | WEST HAWAII TODAY Aloha Performing Arts Company presents ‘THE MIRACLE WORKER’ Arguably one of the best biographic plays ever written, “The Miracle Worker” shares the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, who showed the world how patience, compassion and language can change a life. “The Miracle Worker” opens tonight, May 5 and runs through May 21, at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu. A challenging performance for the actors as well as the director, the performance is sure to be a powerful theatrical experience. Director Jerry Tracy discusses some of the challenges in directing such a difficult play. “It’s a very physical play between Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan,” said Tracy. “There’s about six episodes we’re calling ‘rumbles’ because they wrestle around and fight and throw food. There’s a lot of intricate movements. Also, it’s always a challenge in the theatre to do scenes at a table so everybody can be seen. In this case there are six people, so the staging is quite complicated. Of course our young actress having to portray being deaf and blind is a monumental challenge, but she is fabulous and I’m very proud of her.” Born in 1880 in Alabama, Keller became ill with Scarlet Fever when she was only one year old, leaving her both deaf and blind. Keller’s parents were about to give up hope for their daughter, believing she was mentally disabled, until the teacher, Sullivan, came into their lives and took over Keller’s education. Keller wrote an autobiography of her life, and in 1959 playwright William Gibson adapted the story for the stage garnering several Tony Awards, including Best Play. Subsequently the story was adapted for the screen and starred Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke who both won Oscars for their portrayals of Sullivan and Keller. Local actress Nicole Gour plays Keller’s teacher, Sullivan. Unable to communicate and trapped in a silent world, Keller acts out and is treated harshly by her family. Only Sullivan recognizes Keller’s potential and her spirit, waiting to be rescued from her tortured silence. “This is my first role that is actually based on a real person,” said Gour. “I’ve always been the character actress, the comedic relief; and although Annie Sullivan does have some funny zingers in this play, the character is emotionally and deeply complex. Each day I feel like I uncover a new and deeper meaning to a line I have read and practiced dozens of times.” “This a great show for everyone in our community, because we all have faced some kind of adversity in our lives,” said Gour. “The story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan showcases that with hard work, dedication and love, anyone can play the hand they have been dealt in life and win.” Lotus Buss and Nicole Gour headline the cast of “The Miracle Worker,” playing Keller and Sullivan, respectively. Janice Blaber and Dan Hoff will portray Helen’s parents, Kate and Arthur Keller. Other cast members are Stephen Alves, Ellen Farnsworth, Yasir Bey, Bill Linaker, Renee Monell, Ella Prado, Miles Prado, Caiden Mireles, Felicity Johnson, Nora Judd, Cheyla Page, Noelani Loughery- Kawaihoa, and Alessa Stephens. Assistant director is Felicity Johnson. Producers are Karen Barry and Joel Michaelson. Other crew members include Martha Stephens, Judith Tringali, Anne Waugh,Tiffany Kutsunai, Michael Linnett, Lisa Week, Juanita Finkenberg, Nora Judd, Victor Lugo, and Rich Bickel. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. This family friendly show is appropriate for all ages, and will feature Sheree Matheson, a registered American Sign Language interpreter, signing the Sunday, May 7 performance. For tickets, which range in price from $10 to $22, or more information, call 322-9924 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. ■ BY KAREN ROSE SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY Hellen Keller, (Lotus Lyn Buss) discovers language from her teacher Annie Sullivan (Nicole Gour), left, to the astonishment of her parents Kate (Janice Blaber) and Captain Keller (Dan Hoff) in the Aloha Performing Arts Company presentation of “The Miracle Worker” at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu.
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