Wednesday , September 28 2022

Dollard girl learns uncertainties, isolation like Helen Keller in Miracle Worker


Actress Jennifer Martin, starring Kate Keller, and Melia Cressaty, starring Helen Keller, during The Miracle Worker The Lakershore Players Dorval Theatre.

Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

When Lakershore Players Dorval announced the auditions of The Miracle Worker, the idea was to tease teenagers, 14-18 years old, like a deaf and blind Helen Keller.

But when director Donna Byrne saw Melie Cressaty's 11-year audition as a blind child, she asked her to join the role of Helen for a moment. It worked.

"I was very nervous because I did not prepare," Cressaty said.

Lakeshore Dorval players begin their season with Miracle Worker William Gibson at Lakeside College on Thursday.

The game is based on the real story of American activist, author and scholar Kellera, who was deaf and blind at the age of 19, after today's physicians probably diagnosed meningitis. The fall from the disease was that it became almost wild. Her seizures were epic.

For the audition, Cressaty was asked to perform one of the more physically demanding scenes from the game.

In 1903, when Keller was 22 years old, she wrote autobiographically The Story of My Life. He explained how her parents, who wanted to help their frustrated and isolated daughter, contacted the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston and hired Anne Sullivan for their daughters. Sullivan, played by Stephanie von Roretz in the Lakeshore production, eventually made a breakthrough with Keller, which enabled her to connect and communicate with the world.

Cressaty had no lines to learn. Instead, it was about remembering a few suggestions – when to drive, throw or grab an object. They also have to learn how to stare and move their limbs insecure.

"I can not walk normally because I do not see," Cressaty said. "And I can not just turn my head when someone talks because I can not hear it."

In Cressata, like Helen, she spends a lot of time in the hand of Kate Keller's mother. Kate plays Cressaty's real-life mother, Jennifer Martin.

"(Helen) knew her mother loved her," Cressaty said. "She was in her arms to make her feel safe."

Her mother in real life had to learn to separate reality from credibility.

"I like to look at her," Martin said of his daughter. "But she often reacts with my back to me, so I do not see. I had to divide – we're buddies."

Although Martin can not break out of nature to help her during the trials, she helped her prepare for a role at their home in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

To help Cressata better understand Keller's isolation, Martin rebuilt the furniture in the living room. Cressaty, who was not allowed to see a new layout, then put the headphones that the director gave her, covered her eyes with eyes and tried to go into the room.

"I did not know where there was anything," Cressaty said. "I learned to hold my hands and move my feet."

Both Cressaty and her mother, on the day, made school reports about Keller, and so they went into the project with a certain understanding of the successes of the activists. They also watched the 1962 film starring Anne Bancroft as Sullivan and Patty Duke as Keller. Both have won the Oscars for their performance.

"It's inspirational," Martin Keller told the story. "There was no hope at first, yet she became a teacher and a lecturer."


Lakeshore Dorval will introduce The Miracle Worker to Lakeside Academy, Sherbrooke 5050 Street in Lachine, November 8 at 7:30, 9-10 November, and 15-17 at 8:00 at 14:00. matinées on November 11 and November 17. Tickets are priced at $ 20 to $ 26, depending on the seat and age of the ticket holder. Reservations are available at 514-631-8718 or

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