What Candidates Can Learn from the Stage

By Nitya

Jan 24, 2008 1:15pm

ABC News’ Richard Davies and Hannah Yi Report: According to British acting coach Patsy Rodenburg, Republican candidate Mike Huckabee emerged from the back of the pack to become one of the top-tier because "he listens, he’s connected and that’s very attractive." 

(Listen to the audio from this report on ABC News Radio.)

Rodenburg tells ABC NEWS, "Whether we like what he’s saying or not, he is actually with us and we feel human when we are in that presence." 

She says many politicians have much to learn from actors.  Huckabee’s success has as much to do with his comfort level as his socially conservative policy views.  "He’s got something very powerful," says Rodenburg.  "He is in second circle."

"Second Circle is my code for being present, being engaged and connected," she says. It’s also the title of her new book, and her ideas on politicians as performers are based on many years of coaching actors such as Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman and Ralph Fiennes.   "

You can be on stage talking to two thousand people, and everybody feels you’re with them in second circle. Every great performer that you’ve ever seen that you will remember years later is in second circle," she explains.

Most politicians are usually third circle people, says Rodenburg.  "They push their energy out. They often speak too loudly, and look past you." She classifies those in the first circle people as shy and disengaged.

When Hillary Clinton’s eyes teared up in a New Hampshire diner this month, shortly before the primary, "she suddenly dropped her third circle front, " says Rodenburg. "Suddenly we saw into her, and we saw her as a human being."

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