Gloria Bartholomew and Carol Markowski, 18-year old coeds, were cast last week for the leading roles in the drama department's upcoming production of William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker."
The play, a metamorphosis of young Helen Keller, born without sight, speech or hearing and with the instincts of an untameable animal, went into its first rehearsal Monday evening.
This particular work was chosen for production because it adapts itself to the multiple stage facilities in the new campus theatre. In addition, the leading parts are carried by female characters, as opposed to most of the other plays which have been dominated by males, according to George A. Archambeault, Theatre Arts department head.
The greatest challenge facing the department with "The Miracle Worker" will be the handling of the "multiple action" - action on two sets simultaneously, Mr. Archambeault continued.
Miss Bartholomew will portray the apathetic and head-strong character of Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, companion and friend, who is responsible for the blind girl's success.
Regarding her part Miss Bartholomew said, "Anne is an extremely challenging part, in that her character is completely contrary to that of my own, for I'm a very sympathetic and emotional person."
In addition, the young drama major must acquire an Irish brogue for her role. In order to master this comparatively unusual accent, she has been spending much time listening to an Irish friend and records.
Miss Bartholomew appeared, earlier this year, in "Little Mary Sunshine," "The Physicist" and "Death of a Salesman."
"For the first time I am completely unable to relate any personal experience to my character," said petite Miss Markowski of her role as Helen Keller, "for I have no idea whatever as to what it is to be deaf, blind and speechless."
The character, Helen Keller, has no lines in the play. "This is a tremendous challenge in that Helen must be portrayed solely through action and pantomime expression," she continued, "and the expressions must be exceptionally clear in order that the audience understand."
Miss Markowski, also a drama major, appeared in "The Physicist" last semester in a supporting role.
Others cast for this production are Robert Blessas, as Mr. Keller; Brenda Parks, as Mrs. Keller; Brad Perkins, as James Keller; and Patricia Mackin, as Vinnie, the house maid.