Children’s animated musical series (8 x 25’)
Created and written by
Will Yapp & Richard Chance
~ LOGLINE ~
In turn of the century Argentina, best buddies Pablo (14) and Rafa – a wise-cracking capybara – are bored of country life and head for the bright lights of Buenos Aires, but are soon caught up in a riotous adventure that tests friendship, courage and the ability to dance tango when you’re 3ft tall and furry….
~ SERIES STORY ~
The year is 1911. In the idyllic countryside of Corrientes province in northern Argentina, Pablo (14) and his best friend Rafa - a wise-cracking capybara with a penchant for dance - are bored. They long for adventure, they long for the bright lights of Buenos Aires (B.A.). After heated arguments with Pablo's mother she relents. During the Summer holidays they're allowed three weeks in the city, staying with Pablo's friend Roberto.
SONG - The Two Amigos
Best friends Pablo and Rafa stroll through farmland packed with cattle. As far as they're concerned, this is not the place for them. They share a dream.
Buenos Aires is a smorgasbord of delights for Pablo & Rafa. It was the most glamorous city in the world at the time, with skyscrapers, posh hotels, streets full of motorcars and a buzzing bubbling atmosphere fueled by the immigrants that flocked there. But when Pablo's friend is nowhere to be seen and the accommodation falls through, he and Rafa decide to spend what money they have to see the cabaret at the glamorous "Club Hermosa" (The Beautiful Club). The acts are breath-taking, none more so than "Hummingbird", a female trapeze artist who's addressed as "Katya" (22) by her middle-aged friend Anita, but is known as "Veronica" by everyone else. Pablo and Rafa get to meet her but also witness the moment when two drunk women in the audience recognize her from their home country, tricking her into using her language from home. "Veronica" scuttles away but clearly realizes she's been rumbled, and later that evening the same two drunk women are sending a telegram to someone they refer to as "King Gustav". Their telegram reads: "We have found your sister. We have found Katya". In Benvier, a tiny Principality high up in the Alps, King Gustav immediately announces the bounty on his sister's head.
SONG - We Love You B.A!
A hymn to the city, the most glamorous and exciting in the world at that time. Skyscrapers are leaping into the sky as subway tunnels burrow every which way. Traffic is humming, hotels and clubs are buzzing, and into this smorgasbord of delights come Pablo & Rafa. Life will never be the same again.
Pablo & Rafa have nowhere to stay, so rock up at "Club Los Animales", a capybara dance club owned by Rafa's Uncle Alphonse. Here they witness the new dance phenomenon: tango. Rafa's immediately in love with the dance and the club's singer, Latoya. He's a moth to a flame and very happily so...
SONG - Talking Tango
Latoya takes the stage at 'Los Animales'. She might be a capybara but she's the sassy Mae West type, with a strong whiff of danger and colourful backstory. She stops the room and delivers her ode to all things tango, the soulful seduction of the dance, and it's power to take you over. You can’t fight it. Pretty soon you'll be talking tango…
Pablo & Rafa settle into life in the city; their capybara-sized lodging at the club, their friendship with "Veronica", Pablo's job as pot-wash and Rafa's moon-faced longing for disinterested Latoya, a source of amusement to the bar-capybara Diana and the rest of the house band, all recently arrived from various countries. They try to talk Rafa out of his infatuation but he's lost and clearly doesn't want to be found.
SONG - Good Love, Bad Love
Rafa has become infatuated with Latoya, the singer at 'Los Animales' capybara tango club. The lead of the band is Dunkel, an older, over-weight emigre from Dusseldorf, who takes Rafa aside to deliver some home truths about love: how to find the good, and avoid the bad.
Several weeks later the dark forces that Katya's slip has unleashed are in B.A., as various thugs intent on claiming the bounty on her head arrive: there's Dippy & Dappy (the dim but huge twins), Kruger (a tall hawkish man), Rizzo, (a short bird-like woman with a pinched expression) and a constantly hooded and mysterious figure. When Dippy & Dappy make their presence known at the cabaret theatre, Katya has no option but to ask for Pablo's help. They escape in a cab driven by a short-sighted but courageous recent arrival from French Guyana, and have a white-knuckle ride across the city, pursued by the twins.
SONG - Run No More
Katya comes to terms with the awful truth, her blunder has blown her cover and she's now in grave danger. But as she scans the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, full of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who've given up everything to start new lives here, she stands tall and finds new strength. From now on, she will run no more.
At Club Los Animales, Rafa and all other capybaras in the house band join the fight as they engineer Katya's escape through the subway tunnels under construction. Dippy and Dappy are relentless, the chase includes surfing some trains and the accordionist (Dunkel) driving another, before they escape out into Palermo Park Lake.
Later, Katya tells them who she really is: Princess Katya, daughter of King Harold and Queen Charlotte, rulers of Benvier. She tells them her story, how she grew up with an older brother (Gustav) and how their mother became ill and died when they were teenagers. Gustav had become unhinged, blaming his father for allowing the death to happen. He forcibly ousted Harold and took the throne, sending his father to his death out at sea. The public were told he'd died in a boating accident, and that Katya had become so distraught with grief she'd become a danger to herself and others and had to be locked away in the tower, with only Anita for company.
That was three years ago, but six months ago a mysterious note had reached them that detailed an elaborate escape. In the dead of night they'd been able to break free and had leapt from the ramparts - a 1,000ft drop - caught by a drape suspended from an over-hang, leading to a horse-drawn carriage they'd used to reach the coast, a ship going anywhere and a new life in Buenos Aires.
All around the bonfire are shocked, but next morning Pablo & Rafa witness Anita's secret liaison with the tall hawkish man (Kruger, 60). When later he marches towards Katya he's taken down by Pablo & Rafa, and when he tries to convince her he's always been on her family's side she's disgusted. But in the distance we see the hooded figure, frail and elderly, who we now recognize as Harold. Father and daughter are reunited, years of hurt are rolled back. It was Harold and Kruger who engineered Katya's escape, Kruger acting as spy within Gustav's court all along. But it's plain to see that Gustav will keep sending thugs until he thinks Katya is no more. They need a plan.
* * * * *
Club Hermosa. The cabaret show begins as normal. High up in the boxes over-looking the stage, Pablo - dressed as a theatre usher - politely enquires of the weasel-like woman (Rizzo) in a box on her own whether she's seen a capybara that's on the loose. Rizzo covers her sniper's rifle as Pablo 'finds' a demented looking Rafa, and is highly agitated as he chases him round the box, finally catching him and leading him away. Later, "Hummingbird" wows the crowds as ever, but the act takes a new turn when Dippy & Dappy over-power the stage hands and start trying to fly her into the walls. Diana and all other capybaras take them both on as ultimate chaos and some highly original flying ensues, before Dippy & Dappy are nullified by Katya wielding a pair of maracas at 40 mph. That just leaves Rizzo. As the act reaches it's huge crescendo, she aims. She fires. Katya falls to the stage.
Pablo & Rafa attempt to apprehend Rizzo and eventually - with Rafa employing a curious blend of tango and combat - she's ejected over the balcony, where police lead her away. At Katya's dressing room door Pablo & Rafa are ushered in by a middle-aged man called Dr Hernandez. Kruger and Harold are there, and in the half-light here is Katya, holding an empty blood bag and smiling as she tells them "she doesn't think she's going to make it".
Flashbacks show the moment Kruger tampered with Rizzo's rifle - as Pablo chased Rafa round the box - the back-firing when she pulled the trigger and the blood-bag Katya pierced when the shot rang out. We're now properly introduced to Dr Hernandez - an old friend of Harold's - before he gets back to signing Katya's death certificate. She's then wheeled out through the crowds, under a sheet, flanked by 'distraught' Pablo & Rafa. As the ambulance drives away, Dippy & Dappy sidle into the crowds, their mission lost, and the following days newspaper headline confirms it: "HUMMINGBIRD IS DEAD!"
In the lush rainforest of Corrientes, real hummingbirds fly with all their delicate elegance, as Katya, Harold & Anita settle into their new house and life, and across the way, Pablo is back in the loving embrace of his family. Rafa - assisted by Diana - is busy teaching several young capybaras the tango…