Role Reversal

A funny thing happened on the way to the mock debate:
“People were really able to see the techniques that Trump was using,” said NYU Steinhardt clinical associate professor Joe Salvatore, who helmed the project with Guadalupe. “The repetition of a certain idea. The simplicity of a message.

“One audience member described the Trump message as she was able to hear it as hummable lyrics, while Clinton may have had well-researched information, but there was no hook.”

The exercise in Cape Cod may have helped explain the appeal of Trump's message, even though his victory on Election Day was considered one of the great political upsets. While it was staged in late January, Salvatore and Guadalupe are now trying to adapt it into an off-Broadway play and perhaps a film.

The “Her Opponent” project consisted of four sections of verbatim re-creations taken from each of the three debates. Salvatore, who teaches educational theater, called on two actors he’d previously worked with – and who were schooled in learning speech patterns and gestures – to play the critical roles, renamed “Brenda King” (Trump) and “Jonathan Gordon” (Clinton).
When you have a message, people listen. Otherwise you're just all talk...

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