Through the Bamboo

By Andrea Mapili & Byron Abalos

Through the Bamboo
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Twelve-year-old Philly is literally pulled into an action-packed adventure while mourning the loss of her lola when she opens an old book and finds herself tossed into the fantastical land of Uwi.

In Uwi, memories are stories, and all stories are forbidden since the datu’s ... Read more


Overview

Twelve-year-old Philly is literally pulled into an action-packed adventure while mourning the loss of her lola when she opens an old book and finds herself tossed into the fantastical land of Uwi.

In Uwi, memories are stories, and all stories are forbidden since the datu’s storytelling-loving wife died and his youngest daughter Nale disappeared. Now his remaining daughters, the Three Sisters, rule with darkness in their hearts. So when Philly appears, the duwende believe that she is Nale and the key to saving the kingdom. Can Philly save Uwi while searching for her lola to bring her back home?

Similar to The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Alice in Wonderland, this unique Filipinx Canadian tale inspired by Philippine mythology shows the value of keeping memories alive and explores how families deal with loss.

Andrea Mapili

Andrea Mapili is a playwright, movement director, choreographer, dancer, and somatic practitioner based in Toronto. In November 2017, she choreographed a production of Cassettes 100, a one hundred–person interarts piece at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. In addition to co-writing Through the Bamboo, she was also Movement Director and Assistant Director. Andrea is a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and a Tamalpa Practitioner who offers private coaching and group workshops specializing in embodied public speaking, somatic awareness, connected communication, and creativity for health and wellness. She is a graduate of the Tamalpa Institute and holds a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Western Ontario.

Byron Abalos

Byron Abalos is a Filipino Canadian playwright, actor, and producer from Toronto. His play, Remember Lolo, won the NOW Magazine Audience Choice Award at the 2005 SummerWorks Festival. In 2011, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre premiered his play Brown Balls at the Factory Studio Theatre. As part of the 6th Man Collective, Byron co-created Monday Nights, an interactive basketball performance, which has toured across Canada. NOW Magazine named him one of Toronto’s Top 10 Theatre Artists for 2010. Byron has a BFA in Theatre Acting from Ryerson University, and was an inaugural Bob Curry Fellow at Second City.

Excerpt

A forest. The air is humid and filled with electricity. PHILLY opens her eyes surrounded by IPAKITA, GITING.

 

PHILLY (Simultaneously. )? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

IPAKITA/GITING (Simultaneously. )A?hhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

GITING Nale!

IPAKITA It’s you! It’s really you!

PHILLY Where’d you… how’d you do that?

IPAKITA/GITING Begin the barrio fiesta!

IPAKITA dances like light while playing the kubing. Hundreds of impish DUWENDE flood the forest, scurrying, giggling and leaping.

DUWENDE YAY!!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall
Her stories, they will save us all

PHILLY This isn't happening. I’m not in a forest. I'm just in Lola's basement. I'm going to close my eyes, count to three, and then everything will be back to normal.

The DUWENDE hush.

 

One. .. two. .. three.

PHILLY opens her eyes expectantly. A beat.

DUWENDE YAY!!!

They begin to chant and dance the Maglalatik [an indigenous Filipino dance that uses the percussive sounds of coconut shells worn around the body].

Isa!
Dalawa!
Tatlo!
Nale!

 

PHILLY is caught in the middle and tries to escape multiple times but to no avail.

PHILLY What are you —

DUWENDE YAY!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall
Her stories, they will save us all

PHILLY Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you help me find my way home?

DUWENDE YAY!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her fall/
Her stories, they will save us all!

PHILLY Tell me who you are!

IPAKITA It doesn't matter who we are. It's who you are that's important.

DUWENDE YAY!!!
She’s back, she’s back now from her –

PHILLY Back?

IPAKITA Uh-huh. We knew you were back because the sky – it’s gold again! And now we’ve found you!

GITING Welcome back to Uwi!

PHILLY What's Uwi?

GITING What's Uwi? It ?has? been a long time since you've been home.

PHILLY Tell me who you are.

IPAKITA I'm Ipakita the seeker, of the forest duwende.

PHILLY Sure. So she's Tita Pita -

IPAKITA - Ipakita -

PHILLY - and your name is?

GITING My name? My name?! I am Giting the Great, protector of the forest duwende. The fightiest, mightiest -

PHILLY - tiniest?

 

GITING Who you calling tiny? I'll show you tiny!

GITING takes out her arnis sticks and shows off her skills. The duwende ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at her moves. IPAKITA jumps in to stop her.

IPAKITA That won't be necessary, Giting. Remember, she’s here to end the reign of the Sisters.

DUWENDE YAY!
She’s back, she’s back now from her –

GITING - Stop! Get down!

GITING grabs PHILLY and pushes her to the ground hiding her. The Duwende all hide. An EKEK flies overhead.

EKEK Ekek!

PHILLY What was that?!

GITING Quiet!

IPAKITA An Ekek, a courier for the Sisters.

GITING And their eyes over Uwi.

PHILLY What?

IPAKITA Shh. ..if there’s an ekek, that means. ..

The ground rumbles.

GITING Down!

GITING grabs PHILLY and pulls her into a duwende mound, concealing her from sight. A Tikbalang battalion led by GENERAL T enters.

GEN T Keep your eyes open and sniff for human flesh.

GENERAL T and the Tikbalang battalion exit.

GITING Clear. That was a tikbalang.

PHILLY What’s tikbalang?

GITING Demon horses.

IPAKITA And the army of the Three Sisters. That’s the third group of Tikbalang and Ekek that’s passed through since sunrise.

GITING You're lucky we found you first.

IPAKITA All of Uwi has been looking for you.

PHILLY I’m getting out of here!

GITING Keep your voice down! They'll kill you if they catch you.

PHILLY Why would anyone want to kill me?

IPAKITA You're the key.

PHILLY The key to what?

IPAKITA Freeing the creatures of Uwi. Freeing your home.

PHILLY Look, I don’t know you and this place isn’t my home. Okay, I just gotta find. .. I’m outta here.

PHILLY goes off in search of the way home.

GITING She’s gonna get herself caught.

IPAKITA Let’s go, we can’t mess this up.

They exit after PHILLY.

Reviews

“An immediate hit. ”

“Fun, imaginative, and filled with mythology. ”

“An absolutely charming piece of young people’s theatre .  .  .  a story that’s both wonderfully culturally specific and emotionally universal. ”

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