A miraculous production: MHS puts on The Miracle Worker


Photo by Kayla Baltazar

Farewells and Fresh Starts: Annie Sullivan (played by Junior Juliana Myrant), says goodbye to the schoolgirls she taught before moving to Boston to live with the Kellers. “Annie got a job working for the Kellers at 20 years old to help teach Helen language and what the world is,” said Myrant. “The show is the story of first realizing that Helen needed a teacher and goes over the process of teaching Helen to get her to understand.”

Kayla Baltazar, News-Features/Opinion Editor

  This year, the Mundelein Theatre Department is trying something new by showcasing their take on the popular historical play, The Miracle Worker.  The Miracle Worker follows the story of a teacher by the name of  Annie Sullivan (played by Junior Juliana Myrant), who goes to live with the Keller family to teach Helen Keller (played by Junior Taylor Gates), a girl who is growing up blind and deaf. 

  Theatre Director Johnathan Meier notes the significant role Annie plays in the show, despite Helen being the more recognizable name of the two.

  “People think it’s the story of Helen Keller– and it is– but it’s really more the story of Annie Sullivan,” said Meier. “Annie Sullivan was the teacher they ended up hiring to work with her, and they end up becoming lifelong friends. The miracle worker is Annie Sullivan, not Helen Keller. It was really Annie’s story more than Helen’s.”

Learning to understand and communicate: Juliana Myrant as Annie Sullivan teaching Junior Taylor Gates as Helen Keller how to sign the word doll, while James Keller (played by Senior William Gonzalez) sits at the base of the stairs, waiting to see what will happen between the two. “Helen Keller is deaf, blind, and can’t talk, so she’s a very unruly child,” said Gates. “Her parents hire this teacher named Annie Sullivan and she comes in and tries her best to teach Helen which has its ups and downs. Basically, [Annie] is trying to get Helen to understand how things work and what things are.” (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)
Senior William Gonzalez as James Keller watches as Helen Keller (Taylor Gates, junior) gets into a dispute with Annie Sullivan (Juliana Myrant, junior) when she first arrives at the Keller household. The show was a very physical one, due to Helen not being able to communicate growing up. Said Myrant: “A big thing is all the physicality in this show. Obviously, since Helen is deaf, blind, and mute she can’t communicate very well so there are a lot of physical disputes between her and Annie.” (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)
Kate Keller, Helen Keller’s mother, played by Senior Hadyn Nuttall, comforts Helen after she was scared by Annie (Juliana Myrant), who wouldn’t let Helen eat food off of her plate. Previously, the Kellers just let Helen eat off their plates whenever she wanted. “I have to be really comfortable with the rest of the cast because I have to be feeling everything,” said Gates. “You have to have a lot of trust in the rest of the cast.” (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)
Family bonding time: The Keller family wait at the table for their food to be ready while discussing a potential new doctor for Helen. From left to right: Helen Keller, played by Junior Taylor Gates, Aunt Ev, played by Junior Rey Palacios, James Keller, played by Senior Will Gonzalez, and Captain Keller, played by Junior Leandro Ocampo. (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)
Let’s try temperance: Annie Sullivan (played by Juliana Myrant, junior) attempts to teach Helen Keller (played by Junior Taylor Gates) about her behavior. To communicate how she is feeling about Helen’s behavior, Annie has her touch her face to feel her facial expression. When Annie is happy with Helen’s behavior, she puts Helen’s hand up to her face and says “good girl” with a smile. Conversely, when Helen was misbehaving and treating Annie poorly, Annie had Helen feel the frown on her face to communicate her displeasure. (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)
Junior Leandro Ocampo as Captain Keller, attempting to bond with his daughter Helen Keller (played by Junior Taylor Gates) by giving her a piece of candy to enjoy. However, this attempt is blocked by Viney, played by Junior Zoë Van Krey, who exclaims “You’ll ruin her appetite!” as they were planning on eating together soon. (Photo by Kayla Baltazar)