Mohon student is NYSTI's Helen Keller

Marina Macherone, a 13-year-old and Mohonasen 8th grader, snagged the role as Helen Keller in the New York State Theater Institute's upcoming production The Miracle Worker.

"I just love performing in general," said Macherone. "In my opinion it is the best way to express yourself."

She said when she younger she used to see a lot of theater based movies and would go to the shows that came to town. Previously she did a couple of school plays. When she got the role on an Annie national tour in 2007 she said she really got into theater and wanted to pursue it. Also, she has been dancing for eight years, which helped provide her with a foundation for acting.

"It is a very, very big role and I've never really gotten a role this big," said Macherone. "I am very happy and very excited for the show."

When she found out she was selected for the play she said she was on a beach and "it just made my day even better."

The play takes place mostly in the Keller household with some scenes taking place at Perkins School for the Blind where Annie Sullivan was studying before teaching Helen Keller. There are also Sullivan's flashbacks to her home outside of Boston where she lived from ages 8 to 14. The play is a drama depicting a clash of wills between the blind and deaf Keller and Sullivan as she tries to teach the young girl.

Macherone's mother, Kerry, said her daughter has been able to manage her schoolwork and gets straight A's at school, along with taking 15 hours of dancing lessons a week. Her daughter gets tutored to help keep her grades up and not fall behind.

"As long she keeps her grades she can do as much as she wants," said her mother Kerry.

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