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rogue, (rôg), n. [<16th-c. thieves' slang <L.rogare, to ask]

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2012 American Theatre Wing
National Theatre Company Award


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Girish Karnad's 'Naga Mandala (Play with a Cobra)'


Directed by Cynthia Meier
Original Music by Matthew Finstrom
Dance Choreography by Patty Gallagher
Masks by Aaron Cromie
Puppets by Matt Cotten

September 9–26, 2010

Thursday–Saturday 7:30 P.M., Sunday 2:00 P.M.

Musical Preshow begins 15 minutes before curtain
Discussion with the cast and director follows all performances

Preview Night Thursday September 9, 7:30 P.M.
Pay-What-You-Will Nights
Thursdays September 16 & 23, 7:30 P.M.
Half-price Student Rush 15 minutes before curtain

Performance Schedule

The Rogue Theatre at The Historic Y
300 East University Boulevard

Free Off-Street Parking
See Map and Parking Information

Woven from two Indian folk tales, this story is filled with magic and mysticism. A writer must stay awake all night in order to break a fatal spell. He searches for a story and finds one in the tale of a young bride, abused by her husband and seduced by a cobra. This imaginative staging is embellished with Indian music, dance, masks, and puppetry.

Patty Gallagher (Rani) and Joseph McGrath (Nāga)

Photo by Tim Fuller

About the poster

In Rehearsal at the Rogue

This season, The Rogue Theatre is launching a new publication, In Rehearsal at the Rogue, as part of our continuing commitment to foster a dialogue with our audience about the challenging, provocative and complex ideas behind quality dramatic language and literature. In Rehearsal at the Rogue is written and edited by Dr. Carrie J. Cole. The first issue discusses Nāga Mandala and can be downloaded here.
The file is viewable in Adobe Reader, downloadable here.


Actors, costumes strong in production
Company takes risk; India play succeeds

Review of Nāga Mandala by Kathleen Allen in the September 17 Arizona Daily Star

Rogue Theatre’s snaking narrative meditates on reality
Don’t look for character arcs as story weaves its threads

Review of Nāga Mandala by Dave Irwin posted September 16 on

Rogue uncovers cobra tale from India to start season

Preview of Nāga Mandala by Kathleen Allen in the September 3 Arizona Daily Star

From The Rogue’s new YouTube channel:
In preparation for The Rogue Theatre’s Nāga Mandala, we interviewed actress Patty Gallagher to get some insight into the world of masked performance.


Cynthia Meier, Managing and Associate Artistic Director

Girish Karnad (Playwright) is an Indian actor, director, producer and playwright whose plays exemplify the Theatre of Roots movement that developed after India gained its independence. The movement sought to develop a theatre not based solely on European models; instead, integrating traditional Indian performance into modern Indian drama. To Karnad, the goal of Theatre of Roots “was not to find and reuse forms that had worked successfully in some other cultural context. The hope, rather, was to discover whether there was a structure of expectations—and conventions—about entertainment underlying these forms from which one could learn.”


Brian Taraz (Cobra), Patty Gallagher (Rani) and Matt Cotten (Cobra)

Photo by Tim Fuller


Cynthia Meier (Director)

Cynthia Meier (Director) is the Managing and Associate Artistic Director for The Rogue Theatre for which she has adapted and directed James Joyce’s The Dead, directed The Four of Us, Othello, Animal Farm, Orlando, Happy Days, The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Fever and The Cherry Orchard, and performed in many of the productions including The Goat for which she received the Arizona Daily Star’s 2008 Mac Award for Best Actress. A co-founder of Bloodhut Productions, Cynthia has also performed in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Arizona Repertory Theatre), A Streetcar Named Desire (Arizona Theatre Company), Blithe Spirit and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michigan Repertory Theatre), Romeo & Juliet and Chicago Milagro (Borderlands Theatre), A Namib Spring (1999 National Play Award winner), and Smirnova’s Birthday, The Midnight Caller, and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Tucson Art Theatre). Cynthia is a Faculty member in Speech at Pima Community College and holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of Arizona. In 2000, Cynthia was awarded the Tucson YWCA Woman on the Move Award.


“Writing a play is like having children. You can’t predict what will become of them.”

—Girish Karnad

Note from the Author

Nāga Mandala is based on two oral tales—the tale of the gossiping flames and that of the snake lover. These oral tales are narrated by women—normally the elder women in the family—while children are being fed in the evenings in the kitchen or being put to bed. The other adults present on these occasions are also women. Therefore these tales, though directed at the children, often serve as a parallel system of communication among the women in the family.

They thus also express a woman’s understanding of the reality around her, a lived counterpoint to the patriarchal structures of classical texts and institutions. The position of Rani in the tale can be seen as a metaphor for the position of a young girl in the bosom of a joint family where she sees her husband in two distinct roles—as a stranger during the day and as a lover at night. Inevitably, the pattern of relationships she is forced to weave from these disjointed encounters must be something of a fiction. The empty house Rani is locked in by her own husband could be the family she is married into.

Many of these tales also talk about the nature of tales. The story of the gossiping flames comments on the paradoxical nature of oral tales in general: they have an existence of their own independent of the teller and yet exist only when they are passed on from the possessor of the tale to the listener. Seen thus, the status of a tale becomes akin to that of a daughter, for traditionally a daughter too is not meant to be kept at home too long but has to be passed on. This identity adds poignant and ironic undertones to the relationship of the teller to the tales.

Professor A. K. Ramanujan of the University of Chicago who collected and analyzed these tales stressed that they were not leftovers from the past. “Folklore,” he wrote, “is a suburb away, a cousin or a grandmother away.”

—Girish Karnad, Author of Nāga Mandala

Patty Gallagher (Rani) and Joseph McGrath (Nāga)

Photo by Tim Fuller

Nāga: The Cobra

In Sanskrit, Nāga refers most specifically to the King Cobra, but is often used to describe any snake. In the Sanskrit epic The Mahabharata, nāgas are portrayed somewhat ambiguously, of virulent poison, great prowess and excess of strength. This poisonous prowess points to the cautious reverence the Indian culture has for nāgas as representative of the gods and of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

The Buddhist nāga is most often represented by a King Cobra—sometimes with multiple heads. Some of the nāgas in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology can transform themselves into humans. In India, nāgas are associated with water, protecting springs, wells and rivers. They also are said to bring rain, but along with rain can come flooding and droughts. Nāgas traditionally strike when provoked—so often the environmental disasters associated with nāgas are attributed to humanity’s mistreatment of nature.

Carved or stone nāgas exist throughout India at temples and shrines. Food and gifts are often left at these places as offerings to please and appease the nāgas. It is also believed that nāgas should not be harmed or killed, and that anyone who does so must perform a ritual to cleanse themselves and the community of the act. In some regions of Southern India, a cobra that is killed accidentally receives death rites like a human being.

Serpent deity’s altar in a temple in Belur, Kamataka, India


The concentric design of the mandala carries significant weight in Indian culture. It is a manifestation of the connection between the spiritual and the physical planes. The mandala contains the essence of the universe.

The mandala design uses squares and circles as a blueprint not only of time and space, but of the connection between the earthly temple and the celestial home of the gods. The process of creating a mandala is in part an invocation of the gods, connecting the physical plane with the greater spiritual forces of the universe.

Carl Jung popularized the use of mandalas in the Western world in the first half of the twentieth century as a metaphor for the wholeness of the self, bringing the conscious and the unconscious mind into focus. For Jung, the mandala represented the sensing of a center of personality, a kind of central point within the psyche, to which everything is related, by which everything is arranged, and which is itself a source of energy.

Mandalas often sanctify both temples and private dwellings. They are also traditionally used as an offering to a potential teacher when a student requests spiritual instruction. In these instances, the mandala, as a representation of the universe, also symbolizes the value of knowledge.

Making a mandala


Tibetan sand mandala


Brian Taraz, Jenny Wise, Avis Judd, Jill Baker and Kristina Sloan (Flames)

Photo by Tim Fuller



Rani Patty Gallagher*
Appanna Joseph McGrath*
Kurudavva Jill Baker
Kappanna Brian Taraz
Flame Avis Judd
Flame Kristina Sloan
Flame Jenny Wise
Cobra Matt Cotten

  *Member of Actors’ Equity Association,
the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States,
appearing under a Special Appearance Contract


Cast Biographies

Jill Baker (Kurudavva)

Jill Baker (Kurudavva) has previously performed with The Rogue Theatre in The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Cherry Orchard, Red Noses and Animal Farm. Other favorite roles include Catherine in Proof at Beowulf Alley Theatre and Bertha in The Father at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She has recently spent time acting in film in Mattie and D.I.Y., which she is also directing with Director’s Seat Productions. She enjoys teaching theatre to young people and has directed numerous children’s productions, including CYT’s Narnia. She graduated with her BFA in Theatre Performance from Missouri State University.

Matt Cotten (Cobra) has been teaching drawing, painting, and design courses at the University of Arizona since 1994. For over ten years he has dedicated much of his efforts to the glorification of the puppetry arts. He has collaborated with an eclectic mix of artists in the creation of over a hundred different productions. As well as performing in the shows, he specializes in the design and fabrication of the puppets and sets. Matt recently designed and built the giant puppets in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of Hair. He is currently co-director of Tucson Puppet Works, a collective of artists, writers, and musicians which holds a series of workshops for the Tucson community every fall season in preparation for the annual All Souls Procession. Matt has created puppets for several Rogue productions, including three big-head puppets for The Good Woman of Setzuan that are displayed in the theatre’s hallways. Matt Cotten (Lighting Design)
Patty Gallagher (Rani)

Patty Gallagher (Rani, Dance Choreography) is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at University of California Santa Cruz where she teaches movement, mask, Balinese dance, and clown traditions. With The Rogue Theatre she performed the roles of Shen Te in The Good Woman of Setzuan, Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard, Winnie in Happy Days (most recently for Rogue’s tour to Bangalore, India), Sonnerie and Scarron in Red Noses, Orlando in Orlando, the Player in Act without Words, and Emilia in Othello. She has worked with Shakespeare Santa Cruz, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, The New Pickle Circus, Ripe Time Theatre, Two River Theatre, Teatro Cronopio and Grupo Malayerba. She has performed, choreographed and directed workshops in Asia, South America, Europe, and the U.S. In 2006 she was Fulbright Scholar in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a doctorate in Theatre from University of Wisconsin–Madison, and she is Director in Residence for the Clown Conservatory, San Francisco Circus Center.

Avis Judd (Flame) has previously performed with The Rogue Theatre in Animal Farm, The Good Woman of Setzuan, as Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard, as Sasha in Orlando, as Beatrice in Immortal Longings, as Julia in A Delicate Balance and as Desdemona in Othello. She received her theatre degree from Northwestern University. Other favorite roles include Olga in The Three Sisters, Faith in Invisible Theatre’s production of Kindertransport, Emilia in Othello, and the title role in a one woman show, which she adapted and directed, about Bahá’í heroine Martha Root.

Avis Judd (Flame)
Joseph McGrath (Appanna)

Joseph McGrath (Appanna) is the Artistic Director for The Rogue Theatre for which he has performed in Othello, Krapp’s Last Tape, A Delicate Balance (winner of the Arizona Daily Star 2009 Mac Award for Best Actor), Animal Farm, Orlando, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Happy Days, The Goat, The Cherry Orchard, The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Dead and The Fever. He authored and directed Immortal Longings for The Rogue and has directed The Balcony, Endymion, The Maids (winner of the Arizona Daily Star 2007 Mac Award for Best Play), Red Noses and Our Town. Joe is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama. He has toured with John Houseman’s Acting Company and performed with the Utah Shakespearean Festival. In Tucson, he is a frequent performer with Ballet Tucson appearing in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dracula and The Nutcracker. He has also performed with Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Opera, Tucson Art Theatre, and Arizona OnStage. Joe is also a scenic designer and owns Sonora Theatre Works with his wife Regina Gagliano, producing theatrical scenery and draperies.

Kristina Sloan (Flame) has performed with The Rogue Theatre as The Actress in Six Characters in Search of an Author. A recent graduate of the University of Arizona in Theatre, she has worked with numerous companies in town, including Beowulf Alley Theatre, Arizona Onstage Productions, Gaslight Theatre, Studio Connections, Redondo Music Theatre and Live Theatre Workshop. Favorite roles include Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Pima Community College), Susan in tick, tick…BOOM! (Da Vinci Players), and The Girl Who Danced Herself to Death in Lost (Arizona Onstage Productions).

Kristina Sloan (Flame)
Brian Taraz (Kappanna)

Brian Taraz (Kappanna) has appeared with The Rogue as Joe Stoddard in Our Town and as the Duke in Othello. Previously, Brian performed the role of Harold in Black Comedy at Beowulf Alley Theatre Company. Most of Brian’s acting has taken place in San Diego, performing in numerous Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as Marat/Sade, Book of Days, The Trial and I Hate Hamlet. Brian also has a musical side, composing original pieces using traditional religious texts as the lyrics. Samples of his work can be heard at

Jenny Wise (Flame) is a newcomer to The Rogue’s stage. A senior at the University of Arizona, Jenny is a proud member of the improv group The Charles Darwin Experience.

Jenny Wise (Flame)


Patty Gallagher (Rani)

Photo by Tim Fuller


Music in Nāga Mandala

All music composed and performed by Matthew Finstrom

Mark Tree
Electric Tambura
Various sound effects

Matthew Finstrom (Music)

Matt Finstrom (Composer, Instrumentalist) is the director and founder of Sruti—Music of India, based in Tucson, Arizona. His musical career began in percussion at the age of 10, and has included many western styles such as rock, jazz, symphonic, country/western, and avant garde. He started studying the sitar in 1982, the tabla in 1983 and the dilruba in 1984. In 1985, while performing at the Festival of India at the University of Arizona, he met Darshi Jayawardena, who became his sitar and dilruba teacher. More recently he studied sitar with Jaya Jog, a disciple of Ustad Usman Khan and is currently studying with Ustad Shahid Parvez. Matt has performed on sitar at Bharatanatyam Arangetram recitals in Tucson and Phoenix with acclaimed vocalist Neela Ramanuja, nattuvangam Kalashri Asha Gopal, mridangist Kalashri N.G. Ravi, flute player Rajkamal Nagaraj and percussionist S.G. Pramath Kiran. He studied morsing with S. G. Pramath Kiran and is currently learning the veena. Matt is also the director and builder of Tucson’s Fine Stream Gamelan, which plays many regional styles of Indonesian gamelan music.


Patty Gallagher (The Story) and Joseph McGrath (The Man)

Photo by Tim Fuller



Scenic Design Joseph McGrath
Costume Design Cynthia Meier
Dance Choreography Patty Gallagher
Original Music Matthew Finstrom
Cobra Matt Cotten
Masks Aaron Cromie
Lighting Design Clint Bryson

Production Staff

Stage Manager Nic Adams
Assistant Director Dawn C. Sellers
Scenic Painter Amy Novelli
Dramaturg Carrie J. Cole
House Manager Susan Collinet
Assistant House Manager JoAn Forehand
Box Office Manager Thomas Wentzel
Box Office Assistant Anna Swenson
Snack Bar Manager Leigh Moyer
Snack Bar Assistant Shannon Macke
Poster and Program Thomas Wentzel


Aaron Cromie (Masks)

Aaron Cromie (Masks) is a Philadelphia based, multidisciplinary theatre artist who has collaborated as performer, designer, director, writer and musician with several companies including Arden Theatre Company, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Mum Puppettheatre, The Studio Theatre, Wilma Theater, Lantern Theater, and Shakespeare Theatre among others. He has toured nationally with Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and The Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. He has designed masks and puppets for over two dozen productions.

Clint Bryson (Lighting Designer) has designed lights for nearly every Rogue Theatre production. Other lighting design credits include As Bees in Honey Drown and Golf Game for Borderlands, Woman in Black for Beowulf Alley, and The Seagull for Tucson Art Theatre. Clint is currently the Shop Foreman, Production Technical Director and Marketing Director for Catalina Foothills Theatre Department where he designs and coordinates the construction of all scenery. He is also a member of Rhino Staging Services, and a regular participant in Arizona Theatre Company’s Summer on Stage program where he designs and builds the scenery as well as teaches production classes.
Clint Bryson (Lighting Design)
Nic Adams (Assistant Director)

Nic Adams (Stage Manager) has worked with The Rogue Theatre, both onstage and off, on its productions of Othello, Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I and Act Without Words, Orlando and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Nic has appeared with the Now Theatre in This Property is Condemned and The Zoo Story , both “Rogue After Curfew” productions. A theatre student at the University of Arizona, Nic performed in productions of Titus Andronicus and Candide. He can next be seen in The Rogue's upcoming production of The Tempest.

Dawn C. Sellers (Assistant Director) was a pianist, composer and educator prior to receiving an MFA in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University. Her screenplay, Butterfly Found, won the Arthur Sloan Foundation Screenwriting Award as well as the Santa Fe Screenwriter’s Conference Award. She composed music for the Off-Broadway production of Dance with Me by Jean Reynolds and is published with Hal Leonard Music Publishing, Alfred Music Publishers and the Neil A. Kjos, Jr. Music Company. Dawn also holds a Masters of Music from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. Since moving to Tucson three years ago, her plays have been produced by This Side Up Productions, Beowulf Alley Theatre Company, Live Theatre Workshop and The Arizona Women’s Theatre. A member of Tucson’s Old Pueblo Playwrights, her play Frozen Heart was presented at Live Theatre Workshop this past April. Dawn serves on The Rogue Theatre’s Board of Directors and performed in The Rogue’s production of Our Town. Dawn Sellers (Assistant Stage Manager)
Amy Novelli (Painter)

Amy Novelli (Scenic Painter) received a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, cum laude, from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 1987, and a Masters of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh in 1994. Surrounded by her menagerie of animals and desert flora, Amy now lives and paints along the Santa Cruz River in Tucson. Her art can be seen at locally at Tucson’s Wilde Meyer Galleries and Bohemia Artisans Emporium.

Carrie J. Cole (Season Dramaturg) teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Theatre History and Dramaturgy at the University of Arizona. Her areas of interest include American theatre and performance, performance ethnography, and audience and fan studies. She is a member of the American Society of Theatre Research, Popular Culture/American Culture Associations, and a Recognized Actor/Combatant by the Society of American Fight Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Theatre from Willamette University, a MA from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. from University of Maryland. Carrie was fight choreographer for The Rogue’s production of Othello and will be appearing on stage in the upcoming production of The Tempest. Carrie J. Cole (Season Dramaturg)


Our Thanks

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Joseph McGrath (Appanna) and Patty Gallagher (Rani)

Photo by Tim Fuller


Performance Schedule for Nāga Mandala

Location: The Rogue Theatre at The Historic Y, 300 East University Boulevard
Free off-street parking! Click here to see map and parking information.

Performance run time is approximately 2 hours, not including musical preshow or post-show discussion. There will be one 10-minute intermission.

Thursday September 9, 2010, 7:30 pm PREVIEW
Friday September 10, 2010, 7:30 pm OPENING NIGHT
Saturday September 11, 2010, 7:30 pm
Sunday September 12, 2010, 2:00 pm matinee

Thursday September 16, 2010, 7:30 pm, PAY-WHAT-YOU-WILL
Friday September 17, 2010, 7:30 pm
Saturday September 18, 2010, 7:30 pm
Sunday September 19, 2010, 2:00 pm matinee

Thursday September 23, 2010, 7:30 pm, PAY-WHAT-YOU-WILL
Friday September 24, 2010, 7:30 pm
Saturday September 25, 2010, 7:30 pm
Sunday September 26, 2010, 2:00 pm matinee



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