The Ollantay story is based on an old Quechua legend. The setting is in the Andes Mountains of what today is called Peru. Ollantay, a chieftain in Pachacuti Inca’s army and commander of the largest fortress, wishes to marry Happy Star, the Inca’s daughter, something forbidden by law—a commoner cannot marry a person of royal rank.

Ollantay loudly protests, saying he and Happy Star will marry anyway. The Inca calls for guards to arrest him, but Ollantay escapes to his fortress. To prevent his daughter from marrying, the Inca sends her away to the House of Chosen Women to be a handmaiden of the Sun. After Pachacuti Inca dies (a natural death), his son, Topa, takes over the throne. Chief Stony Eye, who hates Ollantay, promises to capture the rebel and bring him back for justice. Pretending to be wounded, he seeks refuge in the rebel’s fortress and sends a signal to his soldiers, who sneak in and capture the chieftain. When Ollantay is delivered to Topa Inca, Stony Eye insists the traitor should be hurled off the cliff into the Urubamba River. Happy Star rushes onto the scene, begging her brother, Topa, to spare the life of the man she loves or she will leap after Ollantay. Topa, caring about his sister’s welfare, rules that Ollantay and Happy Star may marry

arrow Production Notes


Characters: 7 m; 6 f; 6 m or f (Herald Guard, Courier, Litter Bearers; Dancers and Chorus.

Playing Time: Approximately an hour.

Costumes: Old sheets, tablecloths and bedspreads for men's tunics and capes (T-shirts underneath) and women's dresses, scarves or checkered material for sashes; hem designs drawn on fabric; wide, oilcloth collars and yarn-fringed arm and leg bands. Warriors' tunics of quilted fabric, such as mattress pads. Stuffed, knit caps for men's headdresses, cottage cheese lids attached for "ear plugs," covered with foil for Warriors. On tunics of Pachacuti and Topa are cardboard sun emblems sprayed gold and covered with glitter; they carry gold painted scepters, streamers attached. Women wear braided yarn head bands and shawls fastened in front with large pins; for High Priestess, headdress of cardboard, drinking straws attached and sprayed gold. Happy Star's costume, pale blue. High Priestess carries staff (pole with foil-paper snake entwined), Litter Bearers and Herald Guard carry spears or mace weapons (rubber or cardboard heads). Dancers go barefoot; others wear sandals.

Properties: potatoes and cob corn on shawl, water jars (papier mâché), litter (wooden frame with draped canopy, carrying poles attached or movie projector cart, wheels camouflaged), shields, battle-ax (rubber ax-head attached to wooden handle), quipu (colored yarns knotted and tied to heavy string), 2 bowls, washcloth, candles in cups or camouflaged flashlights.

Setting: Act I and III--backdrop painting of stone-block temple and snow-peaked Andes; l and r flats painted like stone walls; riser against backdrop, appears as step to temple; on it are ornate chair for Inca's throne and decorated stool for Sumac's throne; fountain (cardboard boxes painted like stone blocks); Act II--curtain, decorated with sun emblem drawn across backdrop; storage bins on riser (use fountain boxes with open sides upstage), pegs inserted into flats have shields and weapons hanging from them; large, bright pillows for bed.

Lighting: In Act III, before curtain rises, shine blue flood on apron area in front of curtain.

Sound: Drum rolling and conch horn blowing at times indicated in script (live or taped beforehand).

arrow Selected Audio Excerpts performed by "Side by Side"

Pachacuti Inca (Chorus and Dancers)    

Nature Tells It Like It Is (High Priestess)
Voom-doo-dee-boom (Fleafoot, Warriors and Chorus)
Stony Eye (Stony Eye and Chorus)