Fauquier Community Theatre The Miracle WorkerBy Mark Lee Adams • Jan 26th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Fauquier Community Theatre
Fauquier Community Theatre, Warrenton, VA
Through January 31st
2:15 with one intermission
$15/$13 (Seniors and Students)
Reviewed January 23, 2010
The Miracle Worker is being staged by the Fauquier Community Theatre. This play is about the formative years in the life of Helen Keller. Most of us, if not all of us, know of the affliction that came to Helen Keller as an infant. The play shows us the loving family, not knowing how to raise a child who couldn’t hear, speak or see reaches out for help. Help comes to them from an institute, in the form of a 20 year old who survived many operations to her eyes in order for her, Annie Sullivan, to see. Being forced to make a living, Annie is sent to the Keller home to teach Helen to communicate. In her many attempts Annie allows the miracle of Helen’s spirit to come alive, the curiosity of her existence to thrive and the stubbornness to be self controlled.
You know the story. Helen Keller, stricken with Scarlet Fever in her infancy is left blind, deaf, and mute since infancy, is about to be sent to an institution. Incapable of communication has left Helen frustrated and violent. Her parents, through the urgent pleading of Helen’s mother, seek help from an institute for the blind, which sends a “half-blind Yankee schoolgirl” named Annie Sullivan to tutor their daughter. Helen Keller repeatedly finds herself frustrated and desperate, which is manifested in the form of terrifying tantrums and uncontrollable fits of rage. Through persistence, stubbornness and love, Annie breaks through Helen’s darkness and silence and teaches her to communicate.
Now let me tell you of the performances at The Fauquier Community Theatre. The Director, Nancy Daugherty, was able to cast a truly wonderful show. From a wonderful and strong outing by Evan Jones (Captain Keller) who made you feel the Captain’s pain, pride and love for his daughter, wife and son, to a strong and crisp performance given by Brandon Dawson in the role of James Keller, a son and half brother to Helen. His transformation from the inner struggle for acceptance of his father’s love and disdain for Helen and his stepmother was very well done. Also setting a strong performance of love and caring is Carrie Parsons. Parsons, adorned in glorious costumes of the period, brought us the enduring love for Helen and compliant dutifulness of her position as a wife in the South. A notable performance was given by Teena Stevic as Aunt Ev. Stevic, also beautifully costumed in the dress of the period, was staunch and demure in her love of Helen and her persistence in maintaining what was and was not acceptable in society.
This play can only work well with very strong performances by the two actors playing the two main characters. MacKenzie Earl, cast as Helen Keller, was wonderful. Her task of communicating without words, of displaying a child locked in a prison of silence and darkness was as gripping as it was heartfelt. Watching her performance you lose your concept of actor and you find yourself watching Helen herself. Great work!
In the role of Annie Sullivan is Sarah LaFantasie. LaFantasie is worth the price of admission alone. Taking on a role of this magnitude is a doting task with many emotional hurdles through her journey, and LaFantasie leaps each one with apparent ease. LaFantasie brings her experience and pure talent to her role. Forging through her inner struggles with Helen, she shows us her craft full of nuance, technique (and pure strength) and always in the moment at every moment. Watching her perform is a delight. Watching LaFantasie and Earl together was pure joy! (Somewhat of a “Miracle” in itself.) Thank you both and all in this wonderful production. My only disappointment is you only have one weekend left to catch this show.
Photographs by Hilary Tupper for Fauquier Community Theatre
- Doctor: Gus Anderson
- Kate: Carrie Parsons
- Captain Keller: Evan Jones
- Helen: Mackenzie Earl
- Martha :Sammi Anderson
- Percy: Kirk Noe
- Aunt Ev: Teena Stevic
- James: Brandon Dawson
- Anagnos: Gary Parsons
- Annie Sulivan: Sarah LaFantasie
- Beatrice: Hannah Sachs
- Beatrice Understudy/Schoolchild:
- Sarah: Hannah Abeel
- Alice: Holly Tupper
- Schoolchild: Joshua Vest
- Schoolchild: Spencer Jones
- Jimmie Voice: Joshua Vest
- Man’s Voice: Gus Anderson
- Viney: Danielle Ballinger
- Crone’s Vocies: Hannah Sachs, Teena Stevic, Holly Tupper
- Director: Nancy Daugherty
- Producer: Laurie Abeel
- Stage Manager: Michael Clark
- Costume design: Susan Noe
- Set Design: Nancy Daugherty
- Set Construction: Rich Mulder, Nancy Daugherty, Michael Clark
- Set Painting: Nancy Daugherty, Gary Parsons, Annie Rush, Teena Stevic
- Set Decoration/Dressing: Nancy Daugherty
- Properties: Hilary Tupper
- Light Design: Tim Kirk
- Light Operator: Laura Clark
- Sound Design: Tim Kirk
- Sound Operator: Annie Rush
- Makeup Design: Cast
- Hair Design: Cast
- Wardrobe Mistress: Hannah Ballinger
- Seamstress: Hannah Ballinger, Susan Noe, Teena Stevic
- Public Relations: Laurie Abeel
- Programs: Evelyn Rice
- Posters: Sarah Weathers
- Photography: Kevin and Hilary Tupper
- Opening Night Reception: Laurie Bersack
- Box Office Manager: Christie Clark
- House Managers: Kevin and Hilary Tupper
Fauquier Community Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets for this review. Also, ShowBizRadio.net editors Michael and Laura Clark are heavily involved with this production.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/4684.
Mark Lee Adams has been involved in theatre for over 40 years in the local Washington DC Metro area as well as NYC and London England. Mark has performed at the Dramatist Guild Theatre on Broadway, at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre Off-Broadway. His credits include work in many local theatres as well: The Folger Theatre Group, Arena Stage, New Playwrights Theatre, 7th Street Players, The Keegan Theatre, The American Century Theatre, The Journeyman Theatre, ASTA Theatre, The Hayloft Dinner Theatre (Associate Producer), The Lazy Susan Theatre, Discovery Channels, "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (Frankenstein) with Donald Sutherland. London, England credits include work at: The Duke of York Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, The Questors Theatre, The British Embassy Players. Mark is a graduate of The Drama Studio, London, England. Mark is also a narrator of audio books for Gildan Audio: “True North”, by Bill George; “Never Give Up”, by Tedy Bruschi and “Five Minds for the Future”, by Howard Gardner among them. Mark currently teaches Advanced Acting at The Little Theatre of Alexandria and still performs locally in many theatres.