The Maya name for their underworld is Xibalba.

The play bases its view of the underworld on legends recorded in the Popov Vuh. The Maya equivalent of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The underworld is a dark and humid place of sub natural beings, half human, half animal. A place of life and death that represents the passage into the underground for all beings and all things before they can reach the light and flourish.

In the minds of the Mayas, both dimensions above and below the surface of the earth existed simultaneously with equal significance in their life. A oneness between life and death, light and darkness.

The underworld as defined by the cycle of the corn seed; Maize, the sacred crop of the Mayas. This seed having been placed underground or into Xibalba must survive the plagues of the earth which are insects and animals.

In the play we represent these plagues by the underworld gods: the centipede, the rat, the armadillo, the bat and the bird. (These references in the play were taken from glyphs found in the arqueological site of Tonina).

Comparison: The original glyphs / The Play





Ah Puch (ruler and guardian of the underworld)







The Smoker (represents the spiritual trance)