Q: Now, I just don’t understand who Savannah is and her relationship with Kelly. Given the new draft, it seems more like Savannah is another cobra versus a “masterpiece” of Hannah’s or “Kelly’s arch-enemy,” which is fine, but I guess I don’t know how to establish that air of leadership and being Hannah’s prize… if that makes any sense.
KATIE: That’s a terrific question. The whole “masterpiece” thing is, at this point, a little vestigial. If you recall, way back at the beginning of this, we had the idea that all of the cobras would be insanely good at one specific thing, and then Savannah, the masterpiece, would be good at everything. So you’d have the Boom the Track Snake, Coral the Math Snake, Gus the Theatre Snake, Skimbleshanks the Railway Snake… and then we realized Andrew Lloyd Webber already wrote that show.
No, actually, there were two problems with that idea, one logical and one practical.
The logical problem is that if each of them is really good at one thing, it implies that they’re all also less good at everything else. And they can’t be, because they’re all EXCELLENT. They can be of differing function to the group (see the ice cream thing) but they’re of generally equal quality, within a notch or two. Some snakes might be slightly more equal than others, if you know what I mean, but generally all excellent. The practical problem is that we didn’t have time to go into the strengths of each one without getting back into the CATS issue. So, that’s why that idea had to wither away.
Now, to your actual question, which is the role of Savannah in all this, I do think she is a leader and a great example of the essence of cobra. She’s the poster child for what the Springfield System can do. She has all the right answers, she’s got great moves, she leads the dancing, she’s very competitive, and she’s really protective of the cobra-dom and aggressive towards outsiders, as we see in the basement, at the track, etc. I don’t think Savannah sees Kelly so much as an arch enemy as that she sees her as a threat to her world. The others, like Coral, are trying to win over the humans. On stage with Hannah, she’s playing the part she needs to play, but when left to her own devices, Savannah seems to be more interested in breaking their spirits. Which is why her “life coach” line cracks me up. Does that help?
ROB: Here’s a little backstory I have in my head (which can be different from yours.) I think Savannah was an all-around good student & athlete — but human, with insecurities and frailties like we all have. And I think she was the first one Hannah turned, because Hannah offered the possibility of being better. And because Savannah was a natural leader before, she had lots of friends whom she turned one by one. People looked up to her. I think Savannah has a force of charisma such that people don’t oppose her — Kelly is the first one to say, hey, what are you doing? And then Savannah just turns that bluntness full force at Kelly. I think Savannah really does think of it as a necessity — tough love. Tough love is saying, hey you: acknowledge the fact that you are weak. The truth hurts. Here’s lots of truth. It’s the psychology of the cobra — just the facts.
KATIE: That makes me think, maybe Savannah is sorta the cobra version of Kelly – that aggressive blunt-force.
ROB: I also think that once Kelly speaks up in “Tough Love” … I would be interested to see what specific opportunities we could find in the script for Savannah to specifically target Kelly. Like in the Fall In Line reprise… she’s aiming that at Kelly. I also think Savannah is pursuing Kelly in “Mouse in a Maze”… also, in “Shed Your Skin”, potentially both Rikki and Savannah could be closing in on Kelly (at least Savannah would take some kind of enjoyment over seeing Kelly turned.)