Devin Pierce Scheef
Scenic Design for Live Theatre
Copyright 2015. Devin Scheef. All Rights Reserved.
Written by William Gibson
Presented by the American Heritage Center for the Arts, November 2013
Directed by Brian Lovejoy
Lighting Design by Ryan Bible
Costume Design by Caroline Hagerty
Photographs courtesy of Ryan Bible
The setting is comprised of the Kellers' household at stage right, and a smaller structure at stage left that represents the play's various other locations. Because Helen's sense of her own world is limited to what she can touch, any props, decorations, or architectural elements beyond her reach were intentionally left out of the design. Similarly, in lieu of realistic paint treatments, the walls and floors are treated as extensions of the sepia forest represented in the backdrop. A skeletal duplicate of the set located just upstage of this translucent backdrop allows the actors to perform in silhouette during Annie's various flashbacks to her own childhood.
Inspired by the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, this play recounts their meeting and the very frustrating lessons they both learn as Annie endeavors to teach the blind and deaf child how to communicate with the world around her. Despite the doubts of critics and members of Helen's own family, Annie ultimately performs a miracle when Helen realizes that the water pumped over her hand has a name that she can both spell and speak.
The Miracle Worker