Grace Moore and Sen Longkumer in “The Miracle Worker,” at Langley’s Trinity Western University. (Submitted photo: Jef Gibbons)

Grace Moore and Sen Longkumer in “The Miracle Worker,” at Langley’s Trinity Western University. (Submitted photo: Jef Gibbons)

THEATRE

‘The Miracle Worker’ staged by Surrey director before Langley’s TWU shuts down theatre department

Based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, the play starts Oct. 25 at Trinity Western University

After a mysterious illness leaves 19-month-old Helen Keller deaf and blind, she is left to grow up in a world of silence and darkness.

Trapped in what feels like a dense fog, 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. Will Annie be able to reach into Helen’s mind? Is communication possible?

To get the answers and explore this mysterious world of Helen, Langley’s Trinity Western University (TWU) invites the public to its latest production, William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker,” the theatre department’s second last before it closes in 18 months.

Staged from Oct. 25 to Nov. 5 and based on Helen Keller’s autobiography, “The Story of My Life,” the play is directed by associate professor of theatre Kate Muchmore Woo, who lives in Cloverdale.

Woo described the show as “a labour of love for students and faculty.”

“There are only a handful of productions left before the theatre department closes, and we wanted to bring something to the stage that showcases our talented students and tells a story of hope and resilience. In this true story, we see the miraculous beginning of Helen Keller’s journey into her brilliant future, against all odds.”

Sen Longkumer, an international student from Nagaland, India, and a second-year theatre student who plays Helen in the show, said the play is about “the need for communication – to understand and be understood – and what it can look like when we are stripped of this basic need. In Helen’s silent, sometimes violent cries for help, she sees how every person is blind and in need of a saviour figure filled with compassion, wisdom, and love.”

Grace Moore, a third-year theatre major, said she is learning “a lot” from playing Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher.

“Being able to open up these people and their emotions behind their history, achievement, and suffering has made me more interested in how gaps in communication are still around today.”

With a deep interest in learning American Sign Language (ASL), Moore said she was excited to learn some sign language for this production.

Tickets start from $8.01. For more information, people can visit twu.ca/theatre.

RELATED: Dinner theatre served up aboard the Orient Express

READ MORE: ‘A pioneer, a real national treasure’: Theatre actress Barbara Chilcott dies at 99


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