Festival/Tokyo has published a useful blog post about which of its performances will feature English surtitles, or which performances are otherwise suitable for foreign audiences with limited understanding of Japanese. This is surely ideal information for visiting overseas guests!
Here is what F/T says:
English surtitles will be provided for some or all performances of: “Hemispherical Red and Black” (OKAZAKI ARTS THEATRE), “Oil Pressure Vibrator” (Geumhyung Jeong), “The Unending Warmth of a Bedwetting Bog” (Bird Park), “the acting motivation” (Pijin Neji) and “BANANAGAKU★☆Super Spunky Sports Autumn Grand Tournament!!!!!”. “Resurrection” by Peachum Company will also feature English commentary at some performances.
Ka Fai Choy’s meditation on digital media and dance, “Notion: Dance Fiction”, will be completely in English.
There are also a number of productions and performances that are mostly visual and/or without dialogue. These include the outdoor performances Romeo Castellucci’s “The Phenomenon Called I” and Norimizu Ameya’s “ground”, and Ishinha’s “Landscape – Tokyo, Ikebukuro”.
Needless to say, the dance piece “still life” by F/T regular Tsuyoshi Shirai will be universally understood, as will the contribution to the Emerging Artists Program from Modern Table. Jerome Bel’s “The Show Must Go On” originated in France but is in fact made of famous (English language) pop songs.
French- and German-speakers will also be able to enjoy some of the satellite programs in the Theatrotheque, not to mention René Pollesch’s epic “Cinecittà Aperta”.
Performance literature, pamphlets, announcements and other important information are all available bilingually (English and Japanese), and there will be staff at the box office and reception who can speak English and answer your questions.
If trying to watch a performance and deal with surtitles at the same time is not your cup of tea, the performance by Ka Fai Choy is the only genuinely “English” production. (Ka Fai Choy is originally from Singapore but has studied in London.) Definitely the Ameya, Castellucci and Ishinha productions will also be easy to appreciate no matter what language you speak, as well as the Tsuyoshi Shirai dance work.
And, although it won’t feature English surtitles, those familiar with the original Tony Kushner text for Angels in America may want to catch the KUNIO staging as part of the Emerging Artists Program, to see what a fringe Kyoto company does with the colossal American Nineties play.