Workshop Diary Part 3: Notes from ricca ricca*festa 2017

Last July, I went to Okinawa for a creation workshop program. This three-part series is me wrapping my head around those two weeks. Be warned: it’s a long post. I discuss the process of the workshop, overshare some travel stuff, and put in all the sharable media (photos and videos) we’ve gathered. Yes, yes!

Go to Part 1: Introduction to the Program
Go to Part 2: Workshop and Collaboration Process

>>> p o s t s c r i p t : self-interview / messy ramblings <<<

hey ness, you were in Okinawa for quite some time. what was the ‘residency' like?

soooo, being the super melancholic person that i am, after going through the whole process, i got really attached to the whole team. (i probably spent too much time putting this three-part blog post together, go figure.)

i think it's also because it has been a looooooong time since i’ve worked as an actress instead of a dramaturg / production manager / writer / teacher so it was such just amazing time for me as a performer, rediscovering what i am capable of doing and learning learning learning.

i’ve been to Okinawa for the Asian TYA network conference last year but this year i was in a new area and i was doing something different so it did feel like i was there for the first time, and being somewhere new is always special.

each day begins with all of us meeting outside the building to walk and take the train together. this was a 30 to 40-minute morning ritual of having random conversations and entertaining ourselves simply by taking this journey to the space all together, before splitting into two workshop groups.

afternoons could go a bit differently, sometimes people would go back home in groups, some would go out to explore Okinawa.

* Slideshow (click on the right side of the photo to see more):

evenings eventually became time for drinking and letting go of the day (i feel like i’m stating the very obvious LOL)

sometimes we’d cook meals in our rooms and have dinner on the floor. or have after after (after) parties there

great, but that’s probably too much detail, thank you. so how was the Festival?

i saw more shows the year before because that watching performances was all i had to do aside from the conference. this year i could only see one or two shows each day. once the festival started we’d be out trying to catch shows after the workshop.

i was also very happy to see familiar faces from the 2016 Asia TYA Network. it was great to see that the network group were more hands on this year. they had a chance to talk to artists, had time to engage in the workshops, they were moving around much more and had a comprehensive experience of the festival.

* Slideshow (click on the right side of the photo to see more):
slideshow: (not) all the drinking

then the days ended with festival parties — a great chance to talk to performers of shows we've seen and to invite people to watch our showcase.

honestly, i could make a whole other post about all the drinking and dancing. (i shouldn’t.)

please, don’t. okay honestly, aside from drinking did you get to do anything fun?

still connected to drinking but the food in Okinawa is divine (i’m looking at you, Taki, thanks for ordering the best food, always!)

this is the best sashimi i’ve had in my life, it's from the second floor of the fish market. i actually missed Okinawa when i was in Tokyo.

A post shared by Ness Roque (@sinessaito) on

what did you think of Okinawa?

Okinawa was the first place in Japan i went to (last year). after that i’ve only been to Yokohama for a few days. so last year Okinawa felt 'very Japanese' to me since i didn’t know any better. LOL. this year i was able to appreciate the uniqueness of Okinawa — the color, the island vibe, the energetic music, the food, happy people! iya sasa! These are oversimplifications but yes, I loved Okinawa.

it was really hot and humid though, i was quite shocked because coming from Manila i thought i was prepared for the hot and humid weather (i wasn't)

wow, you did have a lot to say. any final thoughts?

deep respect for the festival and i appreciate this community of theater-makers who are creating works for young audiences

there’s really a different vibe to the festival because it’s centered around creating good works for children, it’s a pretty strong provocation and it keeps everyone grounded

i’ve said this the year before already but i feel it even more, that we are well aware that we are doing all this to make better children, to build empathy, to open children to other cultures, understanding, and these are things that are necessary as we forge a better future beyond our troubled times.

thanks to every person I’ve spoken to and danced with, thanks to everyone who discussed their thoughts about our workshop performance, salamat po, salamat po.

huge thanks to everyone who was part of this program: Gill Robertson, Rob Alan Evans, Atsuto Suzuki, Keita Hara, Ladda Kongdach, Shoko Goto, Yuria Yanagisawa, Chia-Chin “Lindy" Chung, Alex Byrne, Fish Lim Yum Xin, Izuru Kinoshita, Kaoru Yamazaki, Manami Doi, Naoko Takimoto, Setsiri Nirandara, Hirofumi Jinno, and Tzu-yun “Zoi" Liao.

special thanks to Sipat Lawin Ensemble, Jk Anicoche; ACO Okinawa, Japan Foundation - Manila, Mariko Okeda, Skyzx Labastilla; the Asian TYA Network, PETA, the ricca ricca*festa staff, volunteers, and artists, Nao Miyauchi, Mr. Hisashi Shimoyama

how will you end this three-part post?

it’s the longest post I’ve ever done so thanks for reading!