above is the teaser poster, some artwork, and studies from the play, Amihan, which opens at the Marian Auditorium, Miriam College, Katipunan Avenue, QC this coming Tuesday, November 11, at 10am and 2pm, with the Gala on Nov 18 at 7pm.
schedule of shows below:
Nov 11 -- 10am and 2pm
Nov 14 -- 10am and 2pm
Nov 15 -- 3pm and 7pm
Nov 18 -- 10am and 7pm
Nov 21 -- 6pm
Nov 22 -- 6pm
Amihan: A Play
by Liza C. Magtoto and Joel M. Toledo
Directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio
Music: Jed Balsamo
Libretto: Chynna Roxas
Movement: Dexter Santos
Lighting: Voltaire De Jesus
presented by the Miriam College Institute for the Arts
Amihan is the elder of two orphaned kids living with their grandparents in Barrio Binhi, a remote place where magic still thrives, undisturbed by the logic and sciences of the distant cities.
The story begins with a prologue depicting the demise of Amihan’s grandfather, Tandang Sebio. On his deathbed, the old man gives Amihan a pendant and recites to her a magical chant that is quickly forgotten by the 17-year old girl. This way a certain passing on of her Lolo’s magic takes place.
Amihan, however, is not entirely remorseful of his Lolo’s death because she does not believe in magic; she has decided long before that her own father’s disappearance had been caused mainly by her Lolo’s foolish belief in magic, which had led her father to abandon Amihan and her brother Pablo.
A great drought has struck Barrio Binhi. Everywhere, farmers and most of the other village folk are leaving the barrio. The land is barren and the ground cracking from the unrelenting heat; the crops have long-wilted away. Water is terribly scarce and there is no sense in remaining in Barrio Binhi.
But Amihan could not leave; her brother lay in bed suffering from a seemingly incurable disease that the village albularyo could not remedy, in spite of his elaborate incantations and rituals. Her strong-willed grandmother, Lola Adiang while still inconsolable after the death of Tandang Sebio, tells Amihan that the only way to cure Pablo’s mysterious illness is for Amihan to fetch the magical water from the Bukal, the magical well-spring situated deep in the heart of the Kakahuyan, the dense forest that, like an arc, walls in Barrio Binhi from most of the outside world.
The barrio elders of the barrio had long insisted that it is forbidden to venture into the Kakahuyan, as the forest is cursed: protected by wild magic and guarded by all sorts of demonic creatures. Amihan detests these old folk with their ridiculous, impossible stories. As far as Amihan’s concern, it was the one hateful place that took her father away, coaxed by her Lolo Sebio’s firm belief that the forest holds riches beyond their wildest dreams.
Two years before, and months after her father journeyed to the Kakahuyan, travelers passing by Barrio Binhi brought torn pieces of what appeared to be Amihan’s father’s clothing, found at the outskirts of the forest. The village elders were quick to agree that it was the curse. But Amihan simply did not believe -- it was not magic that led to her father’s death, just petty thieves, common humans. Her own mother had died giving birth to Pablo and nothing the villagers had done could save her as well -- not their complex ointments, not their intricate prayers. When the news came of her father’s death, Amihan told herself never to believe in magic again.
Amihan could not find any other way of procuring water for Pablo. There is very little water left in the barrio and the few remaining neighbors would simply not share theirs with Amihan. While her whole being revolts against the idea, she finds herself with no choice but to travel to the Bukal, to the Kakahuyan.
Amihan is a journey-and-return adventure following the fantastic mode. In Amihan’s journey, she will encounter different Philippine folkloric creatures like Lumbo and Maximo (both Tikbalang), Kalahi the Kapre, the Nuno sa Punso, the Diwata (Haina), Kibaan, Engkanto, and Duwende. For her to succeed, she must come to terms with her own disbelief in magic and display her cunning and wit in defeating and/or befriending these creatures.
In the end, Amihan will find herself the necessary human element who will address the waning magic inside the Kakahuyan, the drought in Barrio Binhi, her brother’s persistent sickness. Most of all, her growing belief in magic will her help her reconcile with her father’s disappearance. Little does she know it, but the chant whispered by her dying Lolo and the pendant that she carries hold the key to everything.
Amihan is the tale of how the real and the magical must go hand-in-hand in the world, and how one young woman, against many odds, is able to keep this balance.
Amihan is an adaptation of Joel M. Toledo’s novelette for Young Adults, Pedro and the Lifeforce (Giraffe Books, 1997).