BWW Reviews: Ann Noble Tour de Forces in STANLEY ANN: THE UNLIKELY STORY OF BARACK OBAMA'S MOTHER
Stanley Ann: The Unlikely Story of Barack Obama's Mother/by Mike Kindle/directed by Mark Bringelson/Los Angeles LGBT Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre/thru July 26, 2015
All creative components align perfectly in the world premiere of Mike Kindle's Stanley Ann: The Unlikely Story of Barack Obama's Mother with the primary ingredient of this engrossing 90-minute, one-woman show - the luminous Ann Noble! Using her expressive face, her excellent, full-range of emotion line readings and her naturalistic miming; Noble allows the audience to actually see all the other characters in this play interacting with her. No easy feat that Noble consistently and seamlessly pulls it off! Noble's 'vulture' speech to her pre-teen son - simply amazing! Brava, Ms. Noble!
With only a few non-period pieces of costume, Noble ages from a girlish, idealistic 'I want to change the world' 18-year-old University of Hawaii student to her final, much more knowing years when she succumbs to cancer at age 52. And in the years between, Noble vividly illustrates Stanley Ann's two not-so-perfect marriages, her not-so-easy raising of two children, and the realistic, daily challenges of the harsh, brutal realities of a Jakarta in all its internal turmoil.
Director Mark Bringelson expertly guides his leading lady ever so smoothly through Mike Kindle's very smart, informative script while making full use of every playable inch of the Davidson/Valentini. Kudos to the most complementary, never overpowering production elements of Robert Selander's multi-countried, multi-cultural set, Christopher Moscatiello's well-cued atmospheric sound effects, and Matt Richter's mood-inducing lighting.
How poignant to recognize bits of President Obama's present positive traits that he must have learnt from Stanley Ann. Like knowing the ending before one gets there.