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CHS Theater Delivers Powerful Performance in “The Miracle Worker”

Clayton High School Theater presented “The Miracle Worker” on Oct. 14-16 as one of their fall productions at the Black Box Theater. The play centers around the life of Helen Keller who was deaf, blind and mute and how her life was transformed by her teacher, Annie Sullivan. 

 

CHS Junior Holly Connor was the one of the reasons this production was chosen due to her remarkable performance skills and the fact that she is also blind. Connor explained her excitement to play the role of Helen Keller in the "A Place for Everyone" video shown to the Board of Education: 

 

“My dream has finally come true. I always wanted to be Helen since I was in third grade,” said Connor. “My goal is to spread awareness, acceptance and inclusion for people with all types of disabilities especially in the arts.”

 

The CHS Theater department wanted to make the show as accessible and inclusive as possible to those who are blind and or deaf on stage or in the audience. In terms of accessibility, a narrator was added to include audio description. The script and some parts of the stage production were also adjusted. In terms of making the show more inclusive, the department asked themselves questions throughout rehearsals and in the creation of this production such as: “Who was telling this story?”, ”Who is the audience?” and “Who is left out of the storytelling?” 

 

The story follows Helen’s family as they have a difficult time raising Helen until they hire Annie Sullivan to be her governess and teacher. Helen’s life is transformed as Annie teaches her to communicate through hand signals. It is a powerful lesson about perseverance through difficult times.

 

CHS Theater Department Assistant Director Ellie Schwetye had this to say about the experience of preparing for this production:

 

“In the process of digging into The Miracle Worker, which really is a beloved and still-revered play, the overarching themes are perception and prejudice, perseverance and patience and the importance of communication and the power of love,” said Schwetye. “The journey to the miracle of how Anne Sullivan unlocked understanding and language for Helen has resonated across generations. We all have our struggles and our own challenges to overcome.”

 

Congratulations to all those who participated and helped bring the show to life:

  • Performers:
  • The Narrator - Kendall Turner
  • Kate Keller - Abby Hoelscher
  • Arthur Keller - Angela Chen
  • Helen Keller - Holly Connor
  • James Keller - A Zamora Varela
  • Percy - Casey Piston
  • Annie Sullivan - Daphne Kraushaar 

 

  • Production team:
  • Director - Ellie Schwetye
  • Stage Manager - Sabrina Kronemer
  • Scenic/Lighting Designer - David Blake
  • Costume Designer - Kelley Weber
  • Production Manager - Stephanie Manny
  • Fight Choreographer - Erik Kuhn
  • Set Construction and Painting - Lucas Boeyink, Susie Boeyink, Lev Jersan, Anette Martinson, Marni McDermott, Lucia Puerto, Henry Rosenblum, Anna Streeto, Hannah Yurkovich
  • Running Crew - Marni McDermott, Sarah Vallo
  • Lighting Electrician - Lev Jersan
  • Sound Board Operator - Xavier Hollins-Lewis
  • Stitcher - Lauren Compton
  • Stitcher/Wardrobe - Anna Craver
  • Artwork - Sarah Vallo
  • Usher - Sarah Vallo