By ED FRANKS
The Pine Island Playhouse performed its fourth play, 'The Miracle Worker,' last Friday and Saturday. Once again Nicole Pichon and her cast gave Pine Islanders an excellent performance.
"I would like to welcome everyone to tonight's production of 'The Miracle Worker,'" Pichon said at the opening Friday night. "I am the founder and artistic director at Pine Island Playhouse. We run on donations and after the show the actors will be out with baskets asking for donations ... anything you can donate is greatly appreciated. We are always looking for more actors and people to help backstage and build things ... so if you are interested in acting or helping out please contact me at PineIslandPlayhouse@Gmail.com."
'The Miracle Worker' is based on William Gibson's Broadway play of the true story of Helen Keller (played by Caitlyn Turner), an Alabama girl struck blind and deaf as a baby after an illness. Pitied and spoiled in the ensuing years Helen's parents spoiled her allowing her to become a wild, angry, tantrum throwing child that rules the Keller home. That plus her inability to communicate, or understand the world around her, left her frustrated and violent. Her parents, unable to control her, decide that unless things improve, Helen will have to be sent to an institution.
In a last act of desperation, Keller's parents seek help from the Perkins Institute, a school for the blind. The school sent them a "half-blind Yankee schoolgirl" named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. The play centers around Sullivan's persistence and determination to break through Helen's wall of silence and darkness to teach her to communicate - this relationship alters the course of Keller's life.
The cast of "The Miracle Worker"
In the order of appearance:
Paul Pichon - Doctor
Jessica Turner - Kate Keller
Glenn Ford - Captain Keller
Caitlyn Turner - Helen Keller
Savahna Flint - Martha
Peyton Lovelace - Percy
Denyea Swartz - Aunt Ev
Nick Welsh - James
Jim Schiavone - Anagnos
Rebecca Carden - Annie Sullivan
Kaylin Hill - Viney
Sage Romero - Sarah
Jacqualine Jennings - Beatrice
Angela Kerr - Alice
Emma Cicoria - Laura
Jessica Hill - Jessica
Logan Rose - The voice of Jimmie
Immediately after settling in the Keller home, Sullivan realizes the family is a significant obstacle to making any progress with Helen. Helen's mother, Kate (played by Jessica Turner) and father, Capt. Keller (played by Glenn Ford) spoil Helen terribly allowing her tantrums. Sullivan's first decision is that Helen must be separated from her family.
The scenes between Sullivan and Helen are gripping and convey the frustration Sullivan feels in her never ending failed attempts to communicate with Helen. And Helen's groans when she can't communicate her frustrations are painful. These scenes frequently descend into wrestling matches between Sullivan and Helen.
Sullivan believes the key to unlock Helen's trapped intelligence is through sign language.
"One word, and I can put the world in your hands," Sullivan says.
Sullivan continuously "spells out" words in Helen's hand. "Doll," "table," "chair," "water." Helen's big breakthrough came when she realized that the water running over one hand was the word Sullivan was spelling in the other. Once Helen got the idea, her curiosity became insatiable, forcing Sullivan to spell out every word for every object Helen could find.
Portraying a blind person is a difficult accomplishment and Caitlyn Turner's portrayal of Helen Keller was exceptional. Along with Rebecca Cardin's portrayal of Sullivan, the pair carried the play from beginning to end.
"I selected this play because 'The Miracle Worker' really fits the Beacon of H.O.P.E.'s mission about Helping Other People Excel" Pichon said. "And Anne Sullivan's commitment to improving Helen Keller's life is inspiring."
"I would like to thank Betsy. We wouldn't be here without Betsy," Pinchon said during the introduction. "I would also like to thank Dennis Bradley. Dennis spent a lot of hours building this set and I really appreciate everything he's done for us. I also want to thank this cast... they have put their heart and soul into this production. So please enjoy the play."
Once again Nicole Pichon put together a great cast.
Pine Island Playhouse is under the Beacon of H.O.P.E. The Beacon will be doing a lot of summer programs this summer for kids including their Students Achieving Success (S.A.S.) summer reading program.
The Pine Island Teens (P.I.T.S) will be doing a "Survivor Camp" that will be a lot of fun. They are looking for mentors, drivers, and people to help with the meals for the kids. If you can help in any way... even of it's only an hour a week please contact them.
This summer there will be a Children's Theater Summer Camp for kids between 7 and 17 years old. The play will be Robin Hood.
Contact the Beacon of H.O.P.E. at 5465 Pine Island Road, Bokeelia, FL 33922, or call 239-283-5123.