ricca ricca*festa 2017 Event Report

I always believe that we need new blood offering perspective from younger generation.
Linda Ang (Malaysia)

This is my first time to joining Ricca ricca *festa. I really appreciated the opportunity and it made a strong impact on me. Ricca ricca*festa 2017 invited 26 production team from 8 countries which presented 80 productions. I managed to catch 15 shows out of the 80.

TYA (Theatre for young audience) caters for different age groups, such as theatre for baby from 0-3. This is a very fresh experience for me, and where I received the most input is attending the Asian TYA Network Meeting and World TYA Creation Series.

The first TYA that I attended was PLING LITTLE THING from Germany. Before the show started they circulated stones to everyone, and the stones were used as tickets for the show. The stones were then given back to the actors, and were used for the performance. The stones created a very special sound which was used to form beautiful melodies during the performance. We found out that each stone has its own name, and each stone has its own tone. They were labeled and arranged accordingly, like actors on the stage. From the performance I can hear the voice from the mother earth. I am so touched that they traveled with their stones, which weighed 200kg, and even included some stones from Okinawa too. What I interpreted from this is that the voice from mother earth is the melody of harmony, bringing different countries/people together. After the show, all the kids had a chance to go up on stage to hit the stones with a drum stick, and by doing so they can listen to the soft and gentle voice from each individual stone. This show is for young audience from 2+, and I think the level of the voice is just nice for the kids, it is neither too loud and nor too complicated, and more importantly lets the children hear the voice from nature.

Another show that I really enjoyed was WIND, from Denmark. There were tiny things hanging from the ceiling. As the show started, what I really liked was when the actors said: “you cannot see wind but you can feel it”. As soon as that was said the actors ran and that movement created the wind. The was magic on stage as I could feel the tension when the summer breeze turns into a violent storm. And only when the storm receded on stage, I could then unwind.

AGAIN which is another show from Denmark, is created for audience from 6 months to 4 years old. Before the show started, while we were waiting at the front of house, the actors gave us a string. We all held the string and went into the theatre. They started the show with the string, and when the show ended, the actor rolled up the string and it  become a round ball. This ball is represents a circle, as everything started from a circle and ends with a circle.

The theme of Ricca ricca *festa is “non verbal children’s play”, and I found out to be very powerful and universal.

Adam’s World is a show from Germany. There was a scene where the actors asked: “Who is Mama?”

Actor: Mama cooks for you?

Adam: en en (meaning no)

Actor: Mama does a lot of house work?

Adam: en en (meaning no)

Actor: Mama will do a lot for you?

Adam: en en (meaning no)

-Mama hugs Adam-
Adam: shouts out loud IT IS MAMA!

What was very powerful to me was that this act of hugging and then acknowledgement represents the answer to what a mom is; it is love and warmth.

Another show from Chile is One Morning I Left. The show had good music, good interaction and was well presented.

The show Goodbye Mr. Muffin was also a very meaningful and quality work for young audience.

When we participated in the Asian TYA network meeting, we discussed about the situation in Asian countries. We are all facing a problem of the younger generation who would rather be on the internet than going into a theatre. This problem is rather serious and I proposed to invite all the young talents to join theatre production. For example: young directors, young playwrights, young artists, etc. I believe that when they create an attachment with theatre they will bring in new and young audience, as they will have their influence on their circle of friends and social media.

And I always believe that we need new blood offering perspective from younger generation. For example Roger from Philippine questioned, “We always say that the kids are smarter then we think, then why should we be segmented into TYA?” This is a very good question for all of us.

From the very meaningful play WIND, the production house Theater Madam Bach published a little book called HJEM, which means HOME. There was a sentence in the last page of the book: Home is more then a house. This echoes what I think about theatre for young audience. It is actually more then just a play. This fruitful and inspiring trip really encourages me to create more quality works for children and young people.

Linda Ang
The Play Haus
Festival Director
Participant at ricca ricca*festa