Soap opera head writers have come up with ingenious ways to have actors play dual roles – twins separated at birth, random look-alikes, plastic surgery doppelgangers– but The Bold and the Beautiful came up with something truly innovative when it came up with the Hope Mannequin. For her compelling efforts, Soap Hub bestows Performer of the Week honors on Annika Noelle.
Annika Noelle — Performer of the Week
At first, the mannequin was a prop, but as Thomas’s psyche has become more damaged, the Hope mannequin has stepped up “her” game, which has afforded Noelle (Hope) the opportunity to take on a unique acting challenge.
She plays her usual task of showing Hope’s optimism; she believes that Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) can change and she’s firm with Liam (Scott Clifton) when she needs to be. Hope was guarded in her scenes with Finn (Tanner Novlan), who is not so convinced that Thomas isn’t someone who needs to be watched.
But it’s her scenes as the Hope mannequin in which Annika Noelle has shown her true diversity. First, let’s talk about the physicality she taps into in order to “play” the mannequin. She holds herself as a true mannequin does; the limbs are stiff, the face is motionless, and while she has two arms and two legs, they really don’t move the way in which a human being gets around.
There was a critical scene in which Thomas was talking to the mannequin and viewers weren’t quite sure if this was Hope or the mannequin. Noelle brought a little bit more life in her facial expressions in this scene, but this didn’t mean we were seeing Hope. Viewers were, in fact, witnessing Thomas convincing himself that Hope was real. But she had already left his apartment and Thomas had gotten the mannequin out and began treating it as if it were the real deal.
Noelle does more than move her body like a mannequin. Her expanded role calls for her to do many voice-overs, taking on the part of Thomas’s tortured psyche that chips away at his self-esteem. The Hope mannequin is controlling and angrily goads Thomas into acting in ways that he knows are wrong. Music, lighting, and tight directing all contribute to how dangerous the Hope mannequin is portrayed. But, ultimately, it’s Noelle’s chilling, monotone voice that makes us fear for Thomas.
Often, twins confront one another on soaps, but that’s not likely to happen as the Hope mannequin exists mainly in Thomas’s mind. As this story continues to take twists, we can’t wait to see where Annika Noelle takes the Hope mannequin next! The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for air times.