You say ‘Naga’, I say ‘Naja’

Q: Is there a physical reaction when somebody goes from cobra back to human? How do we make the switch big enough for the audience to immediately grasp that they changed since it happens so fast (like Kelly grabs Rikki’s hand and BOOM she’s back to normal)?

KATIE: Absolutely there is. How? Good acting!

With your directors, you’ll want to develop a physical language for your character as both a cobra and human. It may be posture, gesture, or something else. But it should be fairly specific. There could also be some sort of “shaking off”, like a dog shaking off snow or something (the beagle just came in from outside…) that marks the transition.

As an example of this sort of thing, here’s a video of my dear friend Vince Gatton (the best actor you’ve never heard of!) in a play called Fully Committed, where he plays 40 characters, basically all at once. It’s madness. I stage managed this production, and I used to be able to ID the various characters from the production stills, just from the subtle variations in his posture and such. It was truly amazing to watch.

And here’s his I Am My Own Wife.

Q: How do you pronounce NAGA?

KATIE: “Naga” rhymes with Gaga. (Thanks, “Rikki Tikki Tavi!”) Naja, however, rhymes with Maharajah. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me the difference between those two.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *