Overview


Synopsis

Helen is a bright, strong, energetic child -- but left both blind and deaf in the wake of an illness as a baby, she is also a feral, frustrated mystery to her exhausted family. Her heartbroken mother Kate is Helen’s best protector, while her half-brother James wants to send Helen to an institution, and her father Arthur Keller, a former Captain in the Confederate Army, is worried for the safety of their new baby. As a last resort, the Kellers send for a governess from the the prestigious Perkins Institute for the Blind, and get Annie Sullivan, a lively and stubborn Yankee girl, barely out of school herself, with the experience of childhood blindness -- now cured, after numerous operations -- and the title of valedictorian her main recommendations. Driven by the demons of her traumatic past, Annie, the unlikely Miracle Worker, fights to reach Helen and bring light to the darkness of her mind. But faced with the well-meaning pity of the Kellers, the curious sneers of James, and the fearful, furious trickery of Helen herself, it will take all of Annie’s patience, creativity, and firmness of spirit to bring about the transformation of Helen, the trapped wild creature, into Helen, the brilliant and communicative child she could become. In William Gibson’s riveting prose, one of the great miracles of the 19th century has become one of the great stage plays of the 20th, as past and present, fact and mere conjecture, are woven together in a thrilling and heart-rending drama. Universal sorrows, family bonds, and the strength of the human spirit are explored in the amazing true story of two remarkable women.


Characters

Female

Lead

Silent

Female

Lead

Spoken

Female

Supporting

Spoken



Show Information

Category
Number of Acts
3 Acts
Tony Award ®
Best Play 1960
First Produced
1959
Settings
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
1880s, keller homestead in tuscumbia, alabama, perkins institute for the blind, boston
Cast Size
Licensor
Ideal For
College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Middle School, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Religious Groups, Star Vehicle Female, Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA)/Children's
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes child, young adult, adult, mature adult, late teen, early teen, elderly characters

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