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Drama Canadian


The Hungry Feast Dish

by (author) Joseph A. Dandurand

Playwrights Canada Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 15
  • Grade: k to 10


When you take something from the earth you must always give something back.

From the Kwantlen First Nation village of Squa’lets comes the tale of Th’owxiya, an old and powerful spirit that inhabits a feast dish of tempting, beautiful foods from around the world. But even surrounded by this delicious food, Th’owxiya herself craves only the taste of children. When she catches a hungry mouse named Kw’at’el stealing a piece of cheese from her dish, she threatens to devour Kw’at’el’s whole family, unless he can bring Th’owxiya two child spirits. Ignorant but desperate, Kw’at’el sets out on an epic journey to fulfill the spirit’s demands. With the help of Sqeweqs, two Spa:th and Sasq’ets, Kw’at’el endeavours to find gifts that would appease Th’owxiya and save his family.

Similar to “Hansel and Gretel” and the northwest First Nations stories about the Wild Woman of the Woods, Th’owxiya—which integrates masks, song and dance—is a tale of understanding boundaries, being responsible for one’s actions, forgiving mistakes and finding the courage to stand up for what’s right.

About the author

Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of the Kwantlen First Nation located near the Fraser River, east of Vancouver. He works as the Heritage and Lands Officer for the Kwantlen territory and has been performing his duties for over 17 years. He studied theatre and direction at Algonquin College and at the University of Ottawa. He was a Playwright-in-Residence for the Museum of Civilization in Hull in 1995 and for Native Earth in Toronto in 1996. His previously publishedbooks include "looking into the eyes of my forgotten dreams", "Please Do Not Touch the Indians" and "Hear and Foretell". His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including "An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English". He has also authored a radio script which was produced by CBC Radio. He lives in Fort Langley, BC.

Joseph A. Dandurand's profile page

Excerpt: Th'owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish (by (author) Joseph A. Dandurand)

Th’owxiya Whorl


Actor 4: Th’owxiya was taken from the great forest
Now she rests here in the spirit world for all to see
Such beauty in her eyes and mouth

Sasq’ets: But beware!
Beware of her mouth
For she likes the taste of humans

She likes to eat children
Beware of her mouth!

Yes, Th’owxiya is always hungry
The great Th’owxiya can get very angry
I must prepare a feast
I must prepare a feast or else
I must prepare a feast
Or else
She will eat me!

Yes, she will eat me!
The great Th’owxiya will dine upon me
We do not want that
No, I do not want to be eaten
I must prepare the feast
Or, she will eat me!

I do not want to be eaten!
Do you want to be eaten? . . . No I didn’t think so
Have you seen Th’owxiya eat?
She has giant teeth and she spits fire!
And she burned my backside!

There must be food for Th’owxiya to eat!
If not, she will not sleep
She will not sleep

She will not sleep
She will not sleep

She must have tasty foods
I must prepare them
She likes them warm
She likes them tasty

Sasq’ets finishes her work around Th’owxiya and moves off stage to watch with the others. Kw’at’el enters through the house.

Kw’at’el: The spirit world!

Kw’at’el goes to the large whorl on the floor stage right and looks at the painted images.

Look at the beautiful pictures. They are the spirits of the Kwantlen people. There is a sun, two moons, the Raven, two Spirit Bears, and two Salmon. In the Kwantlen language, Raven is Sqeweqs, Bear is Spa:th and Salmon is Stheqi. These spirits shall help me in my journey for food. Oh, and I am Kw’at’el. Can you guess what I am?

Kids: Turkey? Rat? Fox? Mouse?

Kw’at’el: . . . Right! Mouse!

I am so hungry. In my world, food is very hard to come by, but the spirit world has wonderful foods. The ancestors say there is a Great Spirit by the name of Th’owxiya. Some ancestors say she is a cannibal, which means she likes to eat people. Mostly she likes to eat children.

The ancestors also say that Th’owxiya keeps tasty foods from all parts of the earth inside her belly and her mouth. If you are sly enough, the ancestors say you can borrow food from her. I am Kw’at’el and I am not afraid of this Th’owxiya.

This cannibal woman. This basket ogress of the spirit world. Oh, I am sooo hungry. Let me show you how I “borrow” food from the great Th’owxiya.

Kw’at’el scurries towards Th’owxiya. As Kw’at’el gets closer to her, he slows down and begins to creep ever so closer to her mouth, where a tasty piece of cheese is . . . Kw’at’el inches closer, then reaches ever so slowly into her mouth and pulls out a piece of cheese. Just as he stuffs the piece of cheese into his mouth, Sasq’ets begins to move frantically. She runs around Th’owxiya trying to figure out what has happened and which piece of food is missing. Thunder is heard and Th’owxiya begins to laugh and then speak.

Th’owxiya: I smell Kw’at’el. Is that you, Kw’at’el?

Kw’at’el does not move. Sasq’ets comes up behind him and he begins to sniff him. Kw’at’el just stands there with his mouth stuffed with cheese.

It is you, Kw’at’el. My eyes are not what they used to be. Sasq’ets is tired and lazy. She does not protect my food the way she used to. If she is not careful one day I may eat her for dessert. Now, Kw’at’el, why do you steal food from my mouth?

Kw’at’el speaks with the cheese still stuffed in his mouth.

Kw’at’el: What food? There is nothing in my mouth.

Th’owxiya: Not anymore. Sasq’ets, take the cheese out of his mouth and put it back into mine.

Sasq’ets takes the cheese from Kw’at’el’s mouth and puts it back into Th’owxiya’s, but not before taking a small piece for herself.

Now, Kw’at’el, you know the penalty for stealing food from my mouth. Anyone caught stealing food from my mouth shall be eaten along with all of their family. Sasq’ets, prepare Kw’at’el and gather his family so I may eat them, too!

Kw’at’el: But surely I can repay you for my little mistake. Name it and I shall do it!

Th’owxiya: Ummmm . . . for you and your family not to be eaten, you would need to bring to me two children that I could eat. If you do not bring me two children by the time the second moon rises above the great mountain, then I shall eat you and your family with a nice . . . sauce . . . prepared for me by Sasq’ets. It has been a long time since I’ve eaten Kw’at’el for dinner. Do not think that I will not have my wish! Kw’at’el, you have until the second moon rises above the great mountain to find me two children. Go now!!

Thunder is heard as Th’owxiya laughs. Sasq’ets dances around Kw’at’el as the laughter and thunder fade away.

Kw’at’el: Ohh, What must I do? . . . Ahhhhh!

He chases his tail then stops.

I do not know of any children in the spirit world. Where would I find children?

Sasq’ets: You must look in the forest
You must go to the trees
They say the forest hides children
Yes, this is what they say

They say the forest is full
Yes, it is full with children
These children are the trees
Yes, this is what they say

Kw’at’el: I have no time to go to the forest. I must get back and protect my family.

Sasq’ets: Th’owxiya has sent for your family
She will have them
She will have them for dinner

You have until the second moon rises
You have until the second moon touches the night
And rises above the great mountain
Go, Kw’at’el!
Go to the forest
There you will find trees
And these trees are the children

Kw’at’el: I am going back to my house. My children need me to protect them. I am not afraid of Th’owxiya!

Thunder. Kw’at’el jumps and scurries to his house, looks back one last time and then exits.

Sasq’ets: I must prepare the sauce
Yes, the sauce
I almost forgot!
Get the sauce ready
Get it ready or else
Or else I will be the sauce!

Th’owxiya’s laughter is heard as the sound of thunder begins to rumble. Actor 3 stops spinning the spindle and changes the whorl.

Editorial Reviews

“What makes Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish truly unforgettable is in its engaging story steeped in tradition.”

Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

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