Free Play Reaction: “The Miracle Worker” Essay Sample
“The Miracle Worker” is about Helen Keller. As a baby Helen suffers from a terrible fever. She lives but is no longer able to see or hear. Helen’s behavior is so bad that her father wants to put her away but her mother wants to try to find another way of helping Helen. She finds a teacher named Annie Sullivan and has her come to the house to work with Helen. Annie can relate to Helen because she is blind too but she is appalled that Helen has had nor discipline whatsoever, the little girl has a lot of tantrums. Annie decides that the best way to help Helen is to give her a way to communicate with the world.
At first Annie teaches Helen communication by spelling words with her fingers. But Helen doesn’t really understand what Annie is teaching her. And Helen misbehaves a lot, her actions show she is frustrated. Her temper tantrums are the only way she knows how to communicate. Annie stays very patient with Helen. She also realizes that the family is part of the problem, how they have been treating Helen has made her behavior worse. Annie requests to spend some time alone with Helen. Annie and Helen spend a few weeks together in a separate house. Helen starts to get better but she slides backward when she is with her family.
Things don’t really turn around for Helen and Annie until Helen has a tantrum involving water. Annie makes her pump more water and traces the word “water” on Helen’s hand over and over again until Helen realizes that the word Annie is tracing on her hand is the name for the liquid she is feeling. Helen then realizes she can learn to communicate. At the end Annie, Helen and Helen’s mother go back to the school Annie came from.
I could see the blocking, the actress who played Helen did a lot of physical stuff like throwing tantrums. I could hear her throwing things and banging things. The blocking worked, it made sense. At times I was a little bored but for the most part I was entertained. Helen was played by an actress who seemed younger. She was very physical and had a lot of energy. Annie was an actress who seemed older, she had a calmer character and was more down to earth. Captain Keller was actor who seemed a little older than Annie, he was a little intimidating and seemed strong. Kate Keller was an actress who seemed like she was older than Annie, about the Captain’s age, and was not quite as calm and down to earth as Annie. The doctor was an actor whose age I couldn’t really figure out but he was very kind and helpful.
The set was representational of Helen’s house. There was a big table and a couch. There wasn’t any set piece or prop that really caught my attention, I don’t remember the set very well. The lighting was kind of blah, there wasn’t a color or any specific effects. I could see the actors well enough and the cues were between scenes. The costumes suited the characters and the time period – dresses for the women and suits for the men. I was impressed by Helen’s outfit, her patent leather shoes fit the time period well. I also like the colors of Annie’s outfit, her blouse was old fashioned and that was fitting. The captain’s costume worked well too, his jacket was something a man of his position would wear. The really weren’t many sound effects, just the music that opened and closed the show and played between scenes. This wasn’t a musical so there was no singing or dancing. Overall I enjoyed the show. I thought the actors were good and I felt uplifted when I left. I had heard about Helen Keller before but this play really helped me better understand how difficult it must have been for her to not be able to see or hear.