TACT serves up some fantastical holiday fare

by Nobuko Tanaka

Special To The Japan Times

If you’re so busy wondering how to spend the upcoming Golden Week holiday that you can hardly sleep, why not simply go and enjoy the TACT/Festival at TMET (Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre) in Ikebukuro — where you can count sheep, too, if you want.

Following “L’immediat” (“Immediate”) — his hugely enjoyable, mind-blowing program at last year’s festival that featured woman’s bodies floating in the air and acrobatic performers running through huge piles of collapsing junk — French choreographer, director and performer Camille Boitel returns this time with his partner, French actress Claire Ruffin, to serve up their smash-hit 2013 program of delights, “L’insomnante” (“Insomnia”).

Inspired by Ruffin’s real-life sleep problem, the pair created this beautiful, humorous and imaginative 60-minute work in which the heroine (Ruffin) strives to fall asleep on a gorgeous bed — but can’t, even though a singer-cellist disguised as a room light plays sweet music and someone (Boitel) keeps on dropping silky pillows from high above.

Meanwhile, another Frenchman, choreographer Jose Montalvo — artistic director of dance at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris — also returns to TACT (whose title stands for Theater Arts for Children and Teens) following last year’s “Don Quihotte du Trocadero,” his daring take on Cervantes’ epic 17th-century novel.

This time, with his super-visual and imaginative program “Asa Nisi Masa” — adapted from Italian film icon Federico Fellini’s 1963 masterpiece, “8½,” starring Marcello Mastroianni — Montalvo uses lots of fusions of projected images, colorful costumes and astonishing dance to bring new life to Fellini’s bizarre tale of a fading film director who is caught up in a world of flashbacks after a magician at a party writes out the mysterious words “Asa Nisi Masa.”

Finally, about those sheep: TACT regulars the Canadian physical-theater company Corpus are back again this year with their bucolic wonder titled “Les Moutons” (“Sheep”).

But when you enter TMET’s open basement plaza and behold the troupe looking and acting like sheep in a specially made pen, the sounds of laughter and children of all ages “baa-ing” and bleating are sure to do anything but send you off to sleep.

TACT/Festival 2015 runs May 3-6 at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre’s Art Space in Ikebukuro. For details, call 0570-010-296 or visit