“The Miracle Worker”
When we, the two classes 3 AEH and 3 FHH, Ms Neuhofer and Ms Meissnitzer, watched "The Miracle Worker" at the "Theater im Zentrum" on the 24th November 2016, it was something new - a premiere - for many of our students. It was also the first time that the theatre had presented a play, which was accessible to people who are deaf, by projecting the lines being spoken on the stage onto a screen.
And just like it was 100 years ago when, for the first time, the locomotive appeared on the movie screen during the first film at the cinema and the audience ran away in shock - our students also experienced their own locomotive effect. When the main character, Helen, pushed a pair of scissors into her mouth, the students winced and if it had been possible, they would have loved to have run on stage to prevent her from doing this.
The play is about Helen Keller, who became deaf and blind as a toddler, and has in the meantime grown into a teenager. The blind young teacher, Anne Sullivan, discovers a loving but a rather desperate child, whose parents have practically given up on her - only teaching her the fundamental behavioral rules. Helen takes the food from others and stuffs it into her mouth and if she doesn't get her own way, she has a fit of rage. She can neither express herself, nor can she understand the people around her. We watched while Annie Sullivan desperately trying to explain to Helen that the letters of the alphabet, which she spells to her in sign language, mean something and name things. And then we experienced a particularly magical moment in the theatre. Helen understands the true sense of the word, that the cool moisture in which she is holding her hands is W-A-T-E-R ~ water. Annie Sullivan, Helen, her parents and the maid are thrilled as Helen wants to experience the names of all of the things, which are around her and finally understands that her own name is Helen.
"Language is more important for the mind than light is for the eyes" is the message in the play and in this moment we realise this, we have goose bumps and tears in our eyes. The young actress played Helen so convincingly that we weren't sure if she really was deaf. The other actors and actresses, who took the time for a chat after the play, impressed us not only with their acting skills, but also with their knowledge of the finger alphabet. The students were able to give their feedback with the support and translation provided by our student, Lucas. How great it was to experience this live, to see actors coming onto the stage to applaud in the manner of the deaf, which the actors on stage acknowledged and appreciated. During this evening our students were also invited to take part in an interview (see link to the report in the Kurier).
After this highly successful visit we only want to say one thing;
Dear "Theater der Jugend", we will see you soon!