Three North Delta actors are set to star in Trinity Western University’s upcoming production of The Miracle Worker.
The play, written by William Gibson, is billed as a powerful story of perseverance, patience and love based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life.
After a mysterious illness leaves 19-month-old Keller deaf and blind, she is left to grow up in a world of silence and darkness, and her increasingly wild behaviour leaves her family desperate and helpless.
With no answers from doctors about how to reach her, their last hope is a doctor in Boston, who sends young Annie Sullivan — a working-class Irish girl with a haunted past — to teach Helen. From the start, the relationship between Annie and Helen is tumultuous and sometimes violent.
Leighton Hoffman, a second-year theatre major, plays James, Helen’s older brother. The play is Hoffman’s second show at TWU, having appeared in last spring’s musical, Bright Star.
For Hoffman, The Miracle Worker shows audiences “an intense journey from a prison of silence and darkness to the wonderful gift of communication and connection,” imbued with the values of patience, tolerance and compassion.
For Val Mihelic, a graduating student who plays Helen’s father, Captain Keller, the play is about “a family coming together and healing through communication, and a life being given a full chance to prosper.”
Mihelic appreciates that the characters are flawed and each have “moments of weakness and frailty, but are complicated and full.”
Rounding the trio of North Delta actors in the cast is Aagaaz Sandhu, who is making his TWU stage debut playing Dr. Anagnos, the man who taught Annie Sullivan.
For Sandhu, the show is full of hope, relaying the hardships Helen Keller faced in her early years, and Annie Sullivan’s determination to never lose hope.
“Like God, Annie had a lot of patience and love for Helen, no matter what challenges she had.”
Director and associate professor of theatre Kate Muchmore Woo said the production is a labour of love for both the students and faculty involved.
“There are only a handful of productions left before the theatre department closes in Spring 2024, and we wanted to bring something to the stage that showcases our last, talented students and tells a story of hope and resilience.”
TWU’s production of The Miracle Worker runs Tuesday to Saturday, Oct. 25 through Nov. 5, with shows at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
For ticket info, visit twu.ca/theatre.