“The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson is the poignant story of Helen Keller. Her journey from the nightmare prison of total sensory deprivation into a world filled with people she could neither see nor hear is incredible. The communication begins and ends with her teacher, Annie Sullivan, a great visionary.
Presenting this tale requires a great visionary as well and Jewel Box Theatre meets exactly that requirement in the person of Director Shawna Linck.
Linck’s directorial skills start with how she envisions the scenes and in concert with Technical Director David Hester and Richard Howells in set construction, designs a set to stage her vision. Working in the round such as the Jewel Box stage is a challenge. Ironically the primary difficulty in staging is sight lines. Linck’s creative use of space overcomes this challenge admirably.
“The Miracle Worker” is cast beautifully in all respects. The most crucial and difficult roles are those of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan. Chloe Stevenson as Helen Keller and Allyson Rose as Annie Sullivan are two of the most dynamic young actresses to grace the Oklahoma City area. Stevenson reveals in her performance profound talent and builds on that talent with a clear dedication to her craft. Her sensitive understanding of being blind and deaf is acted superbly. She looks as blind as she acts. Keller has no focusing ability without sight. Stevenson is totally focused from the inside on the role and responds perfectly to the performance of Allyson Rose. Rose is outstanding as teacher Annie Sullivan and makes the worker of miracles believable and authentic. It is easy to see from her performance that the sacrifice of the teacher to the needs of the student throughout her entire life stems from the bond created at their first meeting. The teacher learns of the power of love from the student and this bond transcends any sacrifice the teacher makes. Rose’s performance defines this absolutely and yet with great subtlety for the audience.
Joshua McGowen as older brother James Keller performs outstandingly and develops his relationship with his parents and his conflict and heartbreak over the plight of his young half sister very well. Rob May as Captain Keller once again proves his value as an actor to any performance. The mother of Helen Keller is Kate, and Johanna Hoshall captures the tenderness that allows the mother to step aside for the teacher nicely. Peggy Hoshall as Aunt Ev provides a slight chuckle when needed and gives us the rock-solid foundation women of that era automatically provided for their families.
Exceptional performances from Erin Hart as Viney and two other fine young actresses, Hannah and Madison Callahan bring this heartwarming story to life. Jim Gabe, Roger Oxford, Meg Linck, Macee Sellers, Nolia Sweatt and Chelsea Yeager also lend their talents to this outstanding show. “The Miracle Worker” is a production for everyone, too worthy to be missed!
“The Miracle Worker” is proudly presented by the First Christian Church and can be seen at Jewel Box Theatre, at 3700 N. Walker (same address). For ticket information for any performance through February 13, call 405.521-1786 Tuesday through Friday afternoons or visit Jewelboxtheatre.org.
Anyone wishing to read the published review in The Oklahoman click on the ticket below
Don Jordan is Founding Artistic Director for City Rep since 1998. Don has extensive experience in the craft, and his bio is posted below.
I was asked to contribute a few thoughts to the blog for OKLAHOMA ARTS: SCENE AND HURD, so this is what is on my mind in the way of starting a discussion in this new virtual green room.
50 years ago this month President Kennedy inspired us with the challenge to “Ask not what your country can do for you but rather, what you can do for your country.”
Those of us who love and recognize the value of the arts in our nation owe so much to the President’s vision and leadership. For those of us who love the stage, the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts was the catalyst for our national professional regional theater movement. In the last half-century we have seen enormous growth and accessibility of the arts in hundreds of cities, available to hundreds of millions of Americans fot the first time in our nation’s history.
I want to paraphrase President Kennedy’s challenge now in the context of our economic challenges of the last 3 years. What can you do to help foster and support our theater scene?
Like the dramatic folks we are, we often fume and complain about theaters that don’t pay enough (or AT ALL), ticket prices that are too high, design budgets that make it difficult if not impossible to realize the creative requirements of our art, etc, etc, etc (as Yule liked to say).
But what are WE doing about it? I ask you bluntly, do you support our arts institutions as a donor? Do you at least have season tickets to theaters in town who are doing worthy work and who (and in this I KNOW whereof I speak) really need your support?
Yes , I know you can usually get a friend to slip you a comp, but how can we expect our “real world” patrons to buy a ticket to the theater if we do not value the experience enough to lead by example and pay our own way?
At this point in the discussion there might well be a chorus of voices in 12 part harmony belting out “We can’t afford it —We are starving artists!” like a shouting match between Merman and Lapone.
To you I ask, have you bought a cup of coffee or a coke this week? We think nothing of paying $4 bucks at Starbucks for a cup of java, $2 for a soft drink with lunch, $1 for a candy bar from the vending machine.
We go to the movies and pay $9 for admission and that much again for popcorn or a pretzel and that coke.
Heck, a double dip of ice cream will run you $3 bucks…
Suppose we put our money where our mouth is (instead of in our mouths?) and supported our local theaters and other arts organizations with a mere $2 bucks a day…what would that mean in real numbers?
Well it would mean you make a $60 dollar donation to an arts organization every month of the year and still have $10 bucks left over to give!
At CITY REP that would buy you a season ticket! At the OKCMOA you would have a membership. You get the idea…
One less cup of coffee, one less coke or candy bar, skip the popcorn at the movie and help OKC have a vibrant and thriving theatrical and Arts scene!
If you are reading this, you are almost certainly interested and involved in our amazing theater community. We have grown so much in the last decade, which has seen the addition of ambitious community theaters like O.C.T.C., the Ghostlight Theater, Reduxion, not to mention, ahem, a certain small professional theater with a regional theater profile (CITY REP) to our community’s long time members like Lyric, Carpenter Square, Shakespeare in the Park, The Pollard and others.
We have added spaces including Lyric at the Plaza, the CITYSPACE and Reduxion’s new Broadway theater.
But for this exciting trend to continue,YOU must make the difference. I know you think you will die with one less cup of coffee, coke or Hershey bar, so think instead of trading that two minutes of caffeine/sugar buzz for two hours (or 3 hours in the case of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY) of artistic inspiration when you are watching a show that you are really enjoying…and if you can’t find a show you enjoy in our thriving and diverse theater scene, you are too broken to fix!
So volunteer, serve on a board (or 3), buy a ticket and DONATE—–put your money where your heart is!
And I will look forward to seeing you at the theater with your season ticket, volunteering, or at a board meeting!!
While my tone is light, I want to close by earnestly telling you that I feel privileged to be a part of our theatrical and creative community and I believe it is up to us to see that it survives and thrives for the next generation, and I want to share one of my favorite quotes
“I regard the theater as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre
Founding Artistic Director
P.O. Box 1913
OKC, OK 73101-1913
214-454-7676 direct line email@example.com
Being married to an artist is, well, you know…diversified! I am very proud of my husband’s work . Check it out and let us know how you like it! willhurdstudios.com. I also am blessed with musicians in the family. My son, Thomas is a drummer and with a great band: Stereodeck. I’ll put up the link later. For years I endured a garage band and masses of teenage boys in our home every night. They were fun and this was definitely worth it, because Tom has perfect timing. As his talent grew, his father and I recognized that perfect timing is a blessing that can not be withheld from the world. Occasionally I have to use my husbands turpentine to scrape the testosterone off the walls! Check out Stereodeck and let me know what you think.
Some dear friends who are artists I’d like to share. First of all, Harvey. Harvey & Gina Pratt are very good friends and I enjoy working with them. Check out Harvey’s site: Harvey Pratt.
I hope to be visiting art gallerys in the future and including more links on this page.
Improvisation is both a skill and a gift. Like all the arts, the mastered skills reveal the gift and both are essential to achieve greatness.
Jeff Burleson, Tim Huckeby, Jodi Nestander, Rory Littleton, Noah Quisenberry, Buck Vrazel and Clint Vrazel are fine actors with exceptional talent. Coming together in “OKC Improv All-Stars” this group thinks on their feet. They have mastered the skill revealing their gift.
“Two’s Company” showcases Nestander along with Raychel Winstead. Shining talent, active and reactive, “Two’s Company” displays wonderful technique and dedication.
Ann-Lisette Caveny, Tiffany Elam, Shane McClure, Zak Miller, Sue Ellen Reiman, Aaron Ross and Brenda Williams join Littleton and Burleson for “Everybody and Their Dog”. The overwhelming talent of this group reveals superb timing, finely honed skills and sheer guts. Something not everybody or their dog could do—or can they?
Would these skills be valuable without the talent? Oh yes, just as valuable, perhaps just not quite so funny. OKC Improv maintains a very high standard with all troupes. Talent, skill & guts working together to provide hysterically funny one-liners, comebacks and exit lines. When the laughter subsides, the wit remains forever.
Those of us, most of us, surviving by our wits alone, may realize these skills can be married to gifts other than acting. Come see for yourself – laughter may not only be the best medicine but the best teacher as well.
-Emily Etherton is the Managing Director for Ghostlight Theatre Club in OKC and can be seen in their upcoming production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot which runs Feb. 25- March 19.
I remember a day in high school drama class, standing on the edge of the stage, my back to the house, with a group of my classmates poised below me in the orchestra pit. One, two, three…fall back. The point of the exercise, of course, was trust. I knew then how important it is to trust your fellow actors, but it has only been in very recent years when I’ve begun to understand that trust is the most important factor for any successful theatrical endeavor.
Trust the playwright. No one knows better what the play is supposed to convey than the person whose ideas first formed the story. No one knows better how a character is supposed to speak than the author who conjured that character in the first place. Actors should take comfort in the fact that everything they need to create a role is given to them, either in black and white right there in the printed script or between the lines or in the way other characters speak about them. Our first responsibility is to do justice to the playwright’s voice, and if we trust that they have done their part for the play, all we as actors have to do is follow their lead.
Trust the director. If anyone wants a show to be successful, it’s the director. We actors from time to time have to set aside our egos and trust that the director has the show’s best interest at heart. In most cases, the director has spent more time working on the script, in preproduction and in rehearsals, than anyone else involved in the process, and like it or not, we are charged with the task of bringing the script to life via the director’s vision. As hard as it is to do, setting aside our actor’s vanity and trusting the director can be the best thing that can happen for a performance.
Trust the audience. If the playwright, director, and actors have laid the ground work, then we have to trust that the audience will come along for the ride. Step outside the box, do something experimental, try something different. The audience will come with us. Our art form is based on the suspension of disbelief and if we firmly believe in our characters, believe in the text, believe in the theatrical experience, our audience will believe it too.
Theatre is probably the most collaborative of all the artistic disciplines, and possibly one of the most emotionally revealing. A playwright exposes his or her creation to the world, a director and technical team mold that creation into a personal visual experience, a cast of actors bare their own psyches and souls within that experience, and ultimately the audience receives this experience and bounces that energy back to the performers. If any one part of this process were missing, it would fail to be what theatre strives to be. Only if we trust each other throughout the process, from beginning to end, can theatre transcend the ordinary, and truly become a shared journey.
On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 6:36 AM, Elizabeth Hurd <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
My name is Elizabeth Hurd. Once upon a time, I was an actress. Some visitors to this blog may remember when I was Elizabeth Harris from OKCU. I did a few shows. Even did a musical or two, although I am a klutz without the ability to carry a tune. I got in the back door – I know how to eat fire. Still do so occasionally. I trod the boards at Stage Center, Jewel Box, Star Bar in Colorado Springs, Gaslight in Enid and a few other places.
I married the fabulous artist Will Hurd (willhurdstudios.com). Folks who remember when I was Elizabeth Harris may remember him as Mike. We have three wonderful sons, two of them directly afflicted with my genetic material. As a wife, I also worked as an artist’s agent and publicist often through an art gallery. As an employee, I have had most of my experience in advertising; working in the sales department and writing copy for ads. Starting in Radio, I graduated to Newspaper, and began writing advertorials. I also began to write very bad poetry. Profound, but bad. This naturally led to a return to my first love: not as an actress but as a critic! Hopefully my theatrical experiences qualify me as well for criticism as a journalism degree would!
It is my hope to provide an avenue for constructive criticism. As an actress I always wanted more applause, but I always needed more feedback. That is what this blog attempts to do. My opinion, no matter how well or poorly I am qualified, is still only my opinion. All good intentions aside, my personal prejudices may influence my response to any artwork, visual or performing. A dialogue may give artists more feedback and critics more honesty.
I hope visitors participate with comments and questions. I hope artists will participate and include plugs! While each blog is apparently all about the blogger, this blog is all about what I like – applause. And for all the visual and performing artists in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area hit the applause button Now!!!
Oklahoma Arts: Scene & Hurd is intended to stimulate discussion between artists and the public recognizing the valuable contribution artists make in the community.