Previewing new off-Broadway play 'Her Opponent'

ABC News' Charli James previews new off-Broadway play 'Her Opponent,' which restages presidential debates with gender-reversed casting.
22:31 | 04/19/17

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Transcript for Previewing new off-Broadway play 'Her Opponent'
Hey everyone I'm Kelly James you're watching ABC news digital there's a new play opening here in New York City that's getting a lot of attention. I'm it revisit the 2016 presidential election that they. But it's not just revisiting history they're really interesting twist that you are gonna want to check out. The characters are actually gender reversed and others say male actor playing Hillary Clinton. And if he not actress plane Donald Trump. Though the lions the facial expressions his gestures are all it actually the same. But it really changes how you feed these politicians and that style. He this gender or personal. Really interesting concept and we're gonna talk real quick with Joseph Salvatore he is one of the co creators and directors of the snow and them are gonna get quickly into. I'm an actor you can check it out so first opt out. How did you think you come about really interest things. Yeah I was contacted by a colleague who works. In France she's an economist and mister Reid lot of faith. She contacted me after the second they and said. No she was really frustrated by what she's watching. That they process from and France and she had this idea two. Revisit the presidential debates with the gender split because. And I and when she asked me I said absolutely something great idea. And she had seen some work that I had done in the past. Around style performances that she knew that I would be able to offer would project. Ands. She. Chose these particular excerpts from the free debate. And she was looking for sections that covered a variety of topics on that would relate to the election and what the electorate with thinking about. And Don. Then we sort of looked at strong starting and ending points that would make sense dramatically and for the act reform and we started sort of having sit down meetings about this in late December and and really start of the rehearsal process. And it's really taken on. You have changed the names of the characters went both here and there. But otherwise everything is the same a lot of material to choose from. Tell us little bit about what we're about it so. The clip you're about to see is between. The Republican candidate for president and in our version her name is Brenda came. And that democratic candidate for president and his name is Jonathan court in and the moderator in this particular debate with Lester holt. And said this is debate won September 26. Which took place at Hofstra university. And will begin at eleven minutes 25 seconds into the so we'll let the professionals take it a lag. Look there are different. Use about what's good for our country our economy and leadership in the world. And I think it's important to look at what we need to do to get economy going again that's when I sit new jobs with rising income. Investments not can more tax cuts that would at five trillion dollars to that yet but. In happy meal plant all right secretary you know I have written a book about it skulls together you can pick it up tomorrow books we're gonna bookstore or an airport near you we're government I think it's strong growth there crow sustained wrote. And we have to look at how we hope and we balance the responsibilities at home and the responsibility it is that we need the area. Robust set of plans and he looked at both plants at. I. At history you going to. When the biggest tax increases in history you a minute drive business out no regulations utter disaster news increase regulations although the place and by the way. My tax cut the distance from Reagan very out of it. It would create tremendous numbers of new jobs but. Regulations. You're going to regulate these businesses out of existence when I call around west. And all. And when I go around is by tax cut that thing that big business and people like the most eve but back then and Cuddy right image. UN regulations on top of regulations and new companies cannot form an oil companies that go out of business and you want to increase regulations and make them even worse. I'm gonna cut breaking. I'm going to cut taxes think leak and you'll and a raise taxes make me. End of story. Let me get you to pause right there because whatever that that lets remember. I thought that left to Bruce and -- 36 you know I sort of assumed it would be a lot of these. Charges. Teams tackles yet taken the home page at my website in court dot com and we turn it into a back chapter. So USC in real time what the facts are please go and take a look. Because and I and I also would not that a penny to the debt and your plan with at by trillion dollars to yet. What I propose what cut regulations and streamline them who wore small businesses. What I proposed would be paid for by. Raising taxes on the wealthy because they have made all the gains in the economy and I think it's time that the wealthy corporations pay their fair share or this country just over the net. Segment look at I just finished I think that we I think it's if you go to his regulate you take a look at his let my Newton gonna rape attacks as one point three trillion dollars this and the web site. You know what it's no different in this telling us how to fight ice is just go to his website he tells you how to fight ice is on his website and general Douglas the caught garlic. That's my next. The next segment we're continuing in the subject well at least I have a plan that's my eyes and prosperity you know you're telling the enemy everything you wanted to vote though not telling the Indiana on you wanna be are no where he's been my eternal. Went even fighting. It's your entire adult life. Ninth where thank you guys for that really interesting that the events and idea and I'm sure that a lot of you had the same reactions that I did and that a lot of the audience that's had is how different. People are reacting to these characters. With the genders switched but not in the way he lithium lot of talk during the election. And that process that. The traits that we thought Hillary Clinton if he was a man people with the would be interpreting this completely different and that from. It's style would not be tolerated it if he both lawmen but this really break that apart. What was the main I'm sure that this with all kind of unraveling for you. During the rehearsal process can you explain all of that about how would your assumptions we're going into the house that was broke you're. I think Marie and I both felt that. When a woman. Performed trumps taxed and behaved the way trump behaved during all three the debates that we would never stepped back from a female candidate and can you know on the flip side. That if a man was behaving the way Hillary Clinton with behaving in presenting all of this factual information. In the debates. That that he would be no question that if the most qualified person. Om and as you it's that. The responses have been. Very different. When audiences experience and well I'll throw myself when I was experiencing it in that rehearsal process the first time I. I was it was unsettling because I was having you I was hearing. Brenda king's message more clearly when Rachel of the Wharton is performing it. And I was hearing when I was listening to Darryl Embry perform Johnson Gordon. I was finding really dense and heart figure out what. When you say and I'm kind of man spleen if you and so. And that happened fairly early in the rehearsal process and and when Maria. Service piped in with us for a reversal or we sent her some audio on she was having the same experience and so. Even though it was not what we were expecting we felt like we wanted to continue exploring this because we also wanted to know whether audiences I think. Well. Let's bring the actors in a case that the four we regional title important. Playing Brenda king vacated the tram persona. And Terrell and re buying the Clinton persona and also the moderator who we. You got a couple things interjected into there. Ed as we fight in the debates it was hard to get a word and it buys and in the Wagner. So Rachel let's start with you I mean so much. Musicality. And just seeing you there in body at this persona. It so much more than a lie and it's the way that your life hovering over the podium and the facial expressions. Did you find this to be a really challenging character to body. He. Lenient in this the specificity. Of vocal qualities and he thing in believing there's really. And that just. Remembering that you. Yes that it was it actually is. You know. Clinton for two street. But high speed. So loud it forceful. And they're not always enough. They had there is so crowded was anything. Two act. Can you both talk a little bit about. How am you must have come at this role from a different angle than. Other rules in your career. What did you do first did you sit down and re watch all of the debate for what was the process. It is typically the way you approach. Roland it's sort of from the inside out you think about what their objective is what it. Want to defeat and we've heard this from the outside him meeting that we really studied their vocal pattern. Gestures their actions speak with sessions and go back. Of scientific. And and then later in Hawaii it's. Hillary's smiling. Why she left there. And in turn. It humanity. Once all. The piece. Wouldn't it sort of inverse profit. What do you today feel that you learned or you had your mind change a little bit either about the character about the presidential race and by. Actually becoming the if you tricked her. I have it's of this book we're but I I think that I can I now. It detects. Moments where the tentative first. Me knowing about a week and wind there. Trying to navigate. So even when you live. Account press conference now I am picking up all of that interest thing Hairston. Vocal qualities that are hidden and how it yourself because you have to. As in a way it's a little bit harder I feel like to take a female character in translated into a male performance. Because of the aspects of femininity and how much of that you and you into a male character and still have it he socially acceptable except. How to how did you navigate. Mines. Of the feminine character can. Yes that's the question. I think a lot of it is do about it and physical space that it's it's. I don't it's necessarily familiar masculine. That we would be but the Specter that the gestures are all pretty tight. That the torso doesn't do well. That's headed assisted. That there's there's something to. Guess what we do that we needed to get what's acceptable. Like what's acceptable that they I think masculine. But the gesture which. It is different than what got. And this which is. It feels much more restraint. Was there any one could either of you point to one particular body movements or facial gesture or. Oh or tips. That you guys found particularly difficult few math. From each of your connectors. Definitely that's. This thing. That does I'd like a point but the outlook hasn't been senior. And Mary and now tell you need to do because in an out of it really. So I had. And maybe something you never thought an acting though that you don't what you let thing. And how about by a region the court. Yeah. I think what is the biggest challenges activism movement from if they do which is helpful debate would. States where my characters stationary. Trying to deliver very earnest message and this to bring the team. They'll compared. We're so it's not as much of the technical thing that the focus or concentration because out of the courtroom. I see her like doing all these strange things behind it's it's it's it's difficult to. I'm sure that you guys remember that there are a lot of means all over the place of but Donald Trump and there looming large behind Hillary Clinton in the second thing that Andy you have to play three different characters. You're the moderator for each one but those moderator obviously switch. Part depending on the debate are you trying to also. In body the character thank heard your voice sound a little Lester holt asked. Yeah and yak time instantly that it would. So it. It saying. Quality oh and laws more and ideas festival since nice broad. And visitor if it. This back where you pull back. On its vote question and it would order it and again might there without you know Marty and you thought it that's your. And rip off. Or those instinct see how things are. You guys might know more about. People characteristic than they know themselves if this is just natural and have it to them. It would be interesting if it Anderson Cooper or any of the other characters ever thought it. And really. I hit Cuba it pretty tip. Instead of bring you back in here. We were talking before. Before that a little bit about the staging costumes. As well. Really interesting that you not only uses the words and gestures everything but you also hurt her will be even men me. We felt a little bit about how you treat them way the audience that area wearing the same colors obviously them. High but the same collars. Through dialog draft that you translated we talk. To work so. Are caught in an area on line. We've entering. The and it that simple. Alan. 83. On white. Law. There. And so we didn't you know we feel like we've put John. Largely because we in. Theory. And so our solution. Ways white. White. Modeled on. Through you. Sent because we would normally be. Oh. You death. Your birth right. And eat or Wear white. And so we won it annually that you'd hear. We were thinking about. More about Donald. And our proceeds. Under house which I would hyper VOR. Even care its that we will. How that might try. It but it's often look why. Now my Hayward he. It's so even the custody feed her and now this is kind of a retro. Suit it's not it's not the most but modern looking suit. And it then Maury guests with but Peterson and old school American values that term but that inspired them. This last. Election on of the debate there were some very. Gender specific issues whether we're talking about you know something up though Clinton. Marital. Me giving. Or am trump himself. There were a lot of things that you think would be really hard to translate attitude is still at that are did you feel it this so. I'm in in the choosing of the excerpts. Marie it was looking up at that they transcripts. He and then in consultation together actually mr. steer clear that's moments because we felt that. That would be very hard. On in and gender and intricately now. We are starting to talk about what it would be like to go back into a room and start to happen with the two characters now on. As an oration as. He would be possible and be learned by. Because I mean. Beef. These are not necessarily. Wouldn't. It. They are report that. Many of them are gender specific issues but we here heard it went for centuries for world. Look at gender. And we would weigh on someone posed the questions do you the other day. What if so what and when they. And now. Young people about gender. Things that we're thinking about race now. That. I'm. One year from now. That we might. The issues. Assertive. Who like how power is manifested as it relates to gender. We flop a lot of work to do about. You know and I think that a lack the selection went out for a and that's what's been that exciting I think from reunite one of the most exciting things it's that. This this piece does not shut down conversation about this can actually opens walk the publication because everyone comforted to work. Has different responses for different reasons that we really appreciate the audiences. Engaging in conversation and it's. Might feel too early them this question since her opponents hasn't even officially opened yet they have show tonight to see them. But you officially opened her next week. Wednesday but have you thought a little bit about what he. And long term life this. C in the future. So part of the original idea was to create. Shot first slot replication. Film. The of these candor with debate sort of paint looking out the original debate footage and following a shot for shot because. Obviously. Not all so it's it's sort of affecting an audience's perception. So that we're in conversations and discussions about how to do that. So there's the chance to potentially see it. Sort of in the same way that audiences experience. In. Sort of of the united way. At they'll. And then we also are continuing to look at ways to use what we are thinking about the cool you know are there other. Politicians there are other moments that would benefit from a gender what that would give us more from. Well thank you so much for taking the time everyone in giving us a preview again they have the show tonight at some hope. They did I come in early to do that special performance for us. You can see her opponent at that Jerry or box theatre in Times Square in New York City Philly you live here is here visiting. Check it out the website is her opponents not conference. You can buy tickets there I've home at and and can check it out it's. Definitely a really interesting work at not just the political. Aspect. This last election but that the gender aspect of wealth of thank you to everyone here. And hope you enjoyed this BP. I'm Charlie James thanks for watching these things to to.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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