Biographical drama and content, most well known on the A&E and History Channels, are truly my most favorite, as educational, enlightening forms of entertainment. Actors Co-op at the Crossley Theatre, Hollywood, comes through most effectively in this format with their current production, The Miracle Worker, starring Danielle Soibelman (Helen Keller); Catherine Gray (Kate Keller); Bruce Ladd (Captain Keller); Tara Battani (Annie Sullivan); and an amazing ensemble. The story reveals the incredible life of Helen Keller, and her most outstanding, saintlike teacher, Annie Sullivan.
Right from the start, the audience is in for a most dramatic, empathic performance, with sign language incorporated throughout the show, a subtle, tasteful touch. Helen is played by the precocious, highly talented young actress Danielle Soibelman, who plays quite the challenging role, taking on a “wordless” performance, with the same finesse as last year’s Oscar winning actors of The Artist. Battani gives a most compelling performance as Annie, the dedicated teacher who gives language and communication to the deaf, blind, and overprotected child, trying in any way to somehow break through. In referring to Helen, the dialogue goes: “She’s like a safe — locked, perhaps, there’s a treasure inside….”
A teacher par excellence, at the level of Jaime Escalante, Annie Sullivan has been a universal inspiration throughout generations, and The Miracle Worker succeeds in bringing this miraculous story to life onstage.
“To seek sympathy rather than remedy is a recipe for misery … First, last, and in between … is language.” This story supports these sentiments and reveals that it is indeed possible to work wonders and miracles. In the words of Theodore Herzl, “If you will it, it is no dream….” Helen Keller defied the odds, enhanced her senses to their fullest potential, and was able to lead a productive, healthy life, a true role model for all, both children and adults. The entire ensemble pulls together to carry this production, with engaging scenes, filled with serio-comedy.
The Miracle Worker runs through May 19 at the Actors Co-op Crossley Theatre located at 1760 N. Gower St. on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For tickets visit ActorsCo-op.org or call (323) 462-8460 ext. 300.