The Bridge hosts Stanley Ann
Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, wasn’t just a white woman from Kansas who fell in love with a Kenyan student, nor just an anthropologist who became an American president’s mother. She wasn’t merely an idealistic young woman who became pregnant at seventeen, married at eighteen, divorced and remarried at twenty-two, though she was all those things. As revealed in Mike Kindle’s play Stanley Ann, being staged at The Bridge PAI in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., the woman who Barack Obama credits as instilling the ideals of his career in public life, Stanley Ann Dunham led from her childhood to her death a brave and unexpected life.
Stanley Ann is a new play that tells the story of a woman who marries two foreigners of different races when that was still illegal in many states. She becomes the wife of corrupt civil servant in Indonesia raising two children during a brutal dictatorship. She later earns a Ph.D. in anthropology and works to empower women in Indonesia and all over the world as one of the developers of microfinance.
Directed by Boomie Pedersen of the Hamner Theater, performed by Kate Adamson at The Bridge PAI, and produced by Jennifer Jones of Big Blue Door, Stanley Ann is 70-minute one-woman show that moves rapidly through time and space from Hawaii to Seattle to Indonesia to New York. The original script by former Charlottesville resident Mike Kindle draws from Obama’s autobiographical Dreams of My Father and other sources, to take an unsparing view both of the developing world and our own, and shows how hope and hard work play out in one woman’s incredible journey.
Whether you like Obama as president or not, this play will make you think, feel, and wonder. (Unless you think Obama was born in Kenya in which case this play’s probably not for you.)