Japan Society Present Experimental Theater Event “SHEEP #1”

NYC’s Japan Society has announced SHEEP #1, a unique new live performance from New-York based artist Sachiyo Takahashi. The four-show run will be live at Japan Society from November 4 through November 7. 

SHEEP #1 follows the story of a lone sheep seeking out the meaning of life. Takahashi’s minimalist, unique performance employs a self-designed style she coined “Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre.” Manipulating minuscule figurines in real-time, Takahashi magnifies their live movements onscreen alongside a live musical accompaniment. She has received multiple grants from The Jim Henson Foundation, including one this year, for her innovations in puppeteering. 

The experimental performance combines live music, object theater, and storytelling inspired by the writings of Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Le Petit Prince). The performance’s text is a mixture of original words by Takahashi and quotes from Saint-Exupery himself. 

Takashi’s has shown her inventive work at festivals and venues around the world. She founded her artistic collective, Nekaa Lab, in 2006, described as an “eternal playground for the curious mind.” The video, which highlights the figurines and puppets that make up the “lab members” of Nekaa Lab, is a prime example of the odd, haunting minimalism of Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre. 

In addition to puppetry, Takahashi also has master accreditation in Okamoto School Shinnai-bushi, a traditional form of song-storytelling from Japan. Her merging of unique and traditional styles creates a new form of avant-garde cinematic experience. In fact, she previously collaborated with Korean instrumentalist gamin to conceptualize a new music theatre, The Emotions, incorporated into the HERE Artist Residency Program in 2020. 

In a note, Japan Society Artistic Director Yoko Shioya explained what called her to the piece. Shioya felt moved by Takahashi’s treatment of her figurines as members of her artistic company. 

“Having the utmost reverence to a particular thing,” Shioya said, “is a meaningful gift that artists possess to create art.” 

SHEEP #1’s run will incorporate two distinct programs. PROGRAM A, featuring Emile Blondel on piano, will be performed Thursday, November 4 at 7:30 P.M. and Sunday, November 7 at 2:30 P.M. PROGRAM B, featuring Kato Hideki on bass guitar, will be performed Friday, November 5 at 7:30 P.M. and Saturday, November 6 at 7:30 P.M.

Tickets to the event can be purchased online at japansociety.org, or by phone through the Box Office at (212)-715-1258. 

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