by Ben Ellentuck I called up a friend and said I had an extra ticket to a show and would he like to come.
"Of course," he said, "But what show is it?"
"The Miracle Worker," I said.
"Oh," he replied. I could tell what he was thinking. And quite honestly, I was thinking the same thing myself. Going to a show about Helen Keller did not seem like the most thrilling excursion in the world. In fact, it seemed quite boring. I’m not going to lie and tell you that the show is hilarious or ground-breaking or full of energy because it isn’t. That said, it sure as hell is moving.The plot follows the journey of Annie Sullivan (played by Alison Pill), from being a Boston boarding school student to becoming an astoundingly successful teacher of blind and deaf Helen Keller (played by Abigail Breslin—the little girl from Little Miss Sunshine; she looks very different now).
Before Annie arrives, no one knows how to communicate with Helen. Annie sets out to not only discipline Helen, but to also educate her. Of course there are obstacles in her way (such as Helen's parents and Annie's past), but Annie's experiments become progressively more and more successful. Helen learns about Annie, Annie learns about Helen, and the two grow to really care about one another.
You may be reading this and thinking, "Well…it still sounds kind of stupid." Fine; I get it. Maybe I’d still even feel the same way if it weren’t for the very last moments of the play. However, those final moments (this production does them SO well) are some of the most tender, poignant, uplifting—in short, some of the BEST—I’ve ever experienced through a work of art, any work of art, EVER. You feel hope, not a blind optimism, but a real, tangible hope, welling up in your chest, for yourself, for the characters, for humanity as a whole. It feels wonderful just being alive. If you’ve ever truly felt this, you know exactly what I mean. If you’ve yet to, I would highly recommend the experience.
I really don’t want to ruin the ending of the play by revealing the specifics to you (yes, it’s that good), but I will say this: whether or not you’re interested in Helen Keller, if you care at all about people, you WILL be moved by The Miracle Worker.
TICKETS: $26.50 lottery rush • Circle in the Square, 235 West 50th Street.