January 4, 2008
“Mr. Romney, please look at Mr. Giuliani,” resounded a god-like voice throughout the Saint Anselm College Koonz Theater. Hillary Clinton stood illuminated backstage by a floor light in front of her, and Charles Gibson made his final comments in not so typical debate attire. The 2008 presidential hopefuls stood in front of me, and yet each of them had been in one of my classes during my years here at Saint Anselm College.
Ok… So maybe these weren’t the actual candidates. These are Saint Anselm College student stand-ins for the ABC/Facebook Debates. They are as close to candidates as can be with their practiced mannerisms and scripts that each student had practiced prior to the debate rehearsal Friday night. Throughout the rehearsal, even the smallest gestures and movements were practiced time and time again, from desk movements to the very handshakes that the candidates would share following their debate sessions.
As tech crews and production managers called directions, the students experienced what very few will ever know. What had been limited for so long to that small box sitting in your living room was now exploding in front of them. The political world was uncovered from start to finish, and the students became an integral part of the debate process.
Though the excitement is building exponentially now, the students are maintaining the utmost professionalism and representing Saint Anselm College in a way that is involved and representative of the ideals that the college’s Benedictine community prides most.
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January 3, 2008
Gregory Wallace, a sophomore politics major at Saint Anselm College, finds himself taking on a brand new role; that of playing presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama. As ABC continues to prepare for the candidates’ arrival, Wallace will stand-in as Sen. Obama as ABC News technicians prepare the stage for the Jan. 5 N.H. Primary Debates.
This is not going to be a simple stand in for lighting and placement though. Wallace, along with other students standing-in for the candidates, has been asked to take on the same mannerisms, voice styles, and placements of the candidates, using actual scripts that represent similar discussions that could be held during the live debate broadcast.
The interest in the debates amongst the entire campus community has been incredible, and the opportunities for the students have exceeded all expectations. The campus has been transformed from that of a liberal arts college to one that is the world stage for one of the most covered events by the media. Wallace and other students have been able to see this transformation come to life.
“Last week I was in the Dana Center and not a single set piece was installed or even on campus. And today, it is almost done. It’s fantastic to see how ABC and Fox cover an event start to finish,” comments Wallace.
Wallace has yet to fulfill his first duty as an actor on stage. After doing so, he will find himself as a personal runner for Sen. Obama. Such is the case for each stand-in during the rehearsals. We will continue to follow Wallace as he becomes closer with the candidate and immerses himself even further into the debate process.
We are pleased to bring a student’s perspective to the coverage of the the N.H. Primary Debates. Stay tuned for more debate coverage.