‘Helen Keller’ Classic Story Onstage in Fulton

FULTON, NY – Casting is nearly complete and rehearsals have begun for CNY Arts Center’s next mainstage production, “Helen Keller.”

It is set to open April 26 for a two-week run at the center located in State Street Methodist Church, 357 State St.

Nine year old Sophie Greene rehearses the role of Helen Keller, the blind/deaf child, in "Helen Keller," the next production at CNY Arts Center.
Nine-year-old Sophie Greene rehearses the role of Helen Keller, the blind/deaf child, in “Helen Keller,” the next production at CNY Arts Center.

The new adaptation tells the traditional story of teacher Anne Sullivan and the blind/deaf child Helen Keller taught to communicate with a finger-spelling alphabet.

The child born perfectly healthy lost both sight and hearing during a fever before she turned two.

By the age of seven and without effective communication, Helen became frustrated and unmanageable, throwing temper tantrums and destroying family peace and harmony.

Parents Kate and Captain Keller, often at odds about how to raise the child and frustrated in their efforts, sought help from experts and every promised cure that could be offered until they turned to Perkins School for the Blind.

Leaning on the success of the Institute’s founder with a similar child, Perkins sends the equally stubborn Anne Sullivan, a young woman with her own vision problems and a determined personality.

Anne must confront the child’s unruly behavior and gain her trust.

Her breakthrough with Helen is the climax of the classic story, spelling into the child’s hand the names of things and teaching that each has a meaning and function until Helen herself makes the connection.

Her world is suddenly opened as she realizes she can communicate and understand the world she lives in.

The production will bring familiar faces to stage along with some new ones as Director Nancy Fox has assembled a cast with a wide variety of age and theatre experience.

“I’m delighted with the cast and eager to bring this story to life. Every one of them is working hard to develop genuine characters from the Deep South, characters faced with the challenging needs of an intelligent child frustrated by an inability to communicate and function in her world,” Fox said.

Tickets are already on sale at www.CNYARtsCenter.com for the production which runs April 26 and 27 at 8 p.m., April 28 at 2 p.m., May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., and closing May 5 with a 2 p.m. matinee.

Call the office at 592-3373 for reservations.