• 11.30.2014

    Festival/Tokyo 2014 is now over. Thank you to all our audiences and visitors.

the-valley-of-astonishment festival tokyo

The Valley of Astonishment


November 3rd - November 6th, 2014


Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Playhouse


Adv. ¥5,500 / Day ¥6,000


11/3 (Mon)18:00
11/4 (Tue)19:30
11/5 (Wed)15:00*
11/6 (Thu)15:00

*Post-performance talk: Kyoko Iwaki (performing arts journalist) + Marie-Hélène Estienne
Box office opens 1 hour before.
Doors open 30 minutes before.

Performed in English with Japanese surtitles
Duration: 75 min. (no interval) (TBC)
Due to the nature of the performance, the running time may be longer than announced.

Peter Brook’s journey into the mysteries of the human brain

Imagine a world where every sound has a colour. Where every colour has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady. This breath-taking new play investigates the fascinating experiences of real people who see the world in a radically different light. “The Valley of Astonishment” is a kaleidoscopic journey into the mysteries and wonders of the human brain, inspired by years of neurological research, true stories, and Farid Attar’s epic mystical poem “The Conference of the Birds”.

Brook has been adapting this poem since the 1970’s and in his and Marie-Hélène Estienne’s latest work they draw again on its motifs, as well as his interest in the human brain. This theme was present in “The Man Who”, previously staged in Tokyo at F/T’s predecessor in 1999, and which was adapted from Oliver Sacks’ bestseller “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”.


The Guardian, June 24th, 2014
“Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne’s tale of synaesthesia is an astonishing look at the miracles of the mind.”


The Independent, June 24th, 2014

“Now, in his ninetieth year, Brook returns with this last, exquisitely judged instalment – co-written and co-directed with Marie-Hélène Estienne – of what has proved to be trilogy about the brain and its wonders.”


The Guardian, June 15th, 2014 (five stars)
“I loved this new piece – jointly directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne – finding it intriguing, moving and unexpectedly funny.”

Artist Profile

peter brook©Colm Hogan

Peter Brook

Theatre Director, Opera Director, Film Director, Writer

Born in London in 1925. Throughout his career, he has distinguished himself in various genres: theatre, opera, cinema and writing. He directed his first play in 1943. He then went on to direct over 70 productions in London, Paris and New York. His work with the Royal Shakespeare Company includes “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (1946), “Measure for Measure” (1950), “Titus Andronicus” (1955), “King Lear” (1962), “Marat/Sade” (1964), “US” (1966), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1970) and “Antony and Cleopatra” (1978).


In 1971, he founded with Micheline Rozan the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris and in 1974, opened its permanent base in the Bouffes du Nord Theatre.


There he has directed “Timon of Athens”, “The Iks”, “Ubu aux Bouffes”, “The Conference of the Birds”, “L’Os”, “The Cherry Orchard”, “The Mahabharata”, “Woza Albert!”, “The Tempest”, “The Man Who”, “Qui est là”, “Happy Days”, “Je suis un Phénomène”, “Le Costume”, “The Tragedy of Hamlet”, “Far Away”, “La Mort de Krishna”, “Ta Main dans la Mienne”, “The Grand Inquisitor”, “Tierno Bokar”, “Sizwe Banzi is Dead”, “Fragments”, “Warum Warum”, “Love is my Sin”, “11 and 12”, “Une Flûte Enchantée”, and recently “The Suit” (2012) – many of these performed both in French and English.


Peter Brook’s many books include “The Empty Space” (1968), translated into over 15 languages. His films include “Moderato Cantabile” (1959), “Lord of the Flies” (1963), “Marat/Sade” (1967), “King Lear” (1969), “Meetings with Remarkable Men” (1976), “The Mahabharata” (1989) and “The Tragedy Of Hamlet” (2002, TV).

Marie-Hélène Estienne©El París: Alvaro García

MH Estienne


In 1974, Marie-Hélène Estienne worked with Peter Brook on the casting for “Timon of Athens”, and consequently joined the Centre International de Créations Théâtrales (CICT) for the creation of “Ubu aux Bouffes” in 1977. She was Peter Brook’s assistant on “La tragédie de Carmen”, “The Mahabharata”, and collaborated to the staging of “The Tempest”, “Impressions de Pelléas”, “Woza Albert!” and “La tragédie d’Hamlet” (2000). She worked on the dramaturgy of “Qui est là.” with Peter Brook, and co-authored “L’homme qui” and “Je suis un phénomène” at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. She wrote the French adaptation of Can Themba’s “The Suit” and “Sizwe Bansi is Dead” by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. In 2003, she wrote the French and English adaptations of “Le Grand inquisiteur – The Grand Inquisitor”, based on Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”. She was the author of “Tierno Bokar” in 2005, and of the English adaptation of “Eleven and Twelve” by Amadou Hampaté Ba in 2009. With Peter Brook, she co-directed “Fragments”, five short pieces by Beckett, and again with Peter Brook and composer Franck Krawczyk, she freely adapted Mozart and Schikaneder’s “Die Zauberflöte” into “Une Flûte enchantée”, as well as recently “The Suit”.

Cast, Staff

Text, Direction:

Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne


Philippe Vialatte


Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, Jared McNeill


Raphaël Chambouvet, Toshi Tsuchitori

Stage Manager:

Arthur Franc

Production Director:

Marko Rankov

Production Managers:

Agnès Courtay, Mara Patrie


C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord


Theater for a New Audience (New York), Les Théâtres de la ville de Luxembourg

Associated Co-producers:

Théâtre d’Arras / Tandem Arras Douai; Théâtre du Gymnase (Marseille); Warwick Arts Center; Holland Festival (Amsterdam); Attiki Cultural Society (Athens); Musikfest Bremen; Théâtre Forum Meyrin (Geneva); C.I.R.T.; Young Vic Theatre (London)

Tokyo Production
Technical Manager:

Eiji Torakawa

Lighting Co-ordination:

Makiko Sasaki (Factor Co., Ltd.)

Sound Co-ordination:

Akira Aikawa (Sound Weeds Inc.)


Sakura Fujibayashi


Satoru Makuuchi

Japanese Translation:

Lisa Sumiyoshi (English), Kako Kishimoto (French)


Sonoko Ishii, Mayuko Kawai

Production Co-ordination:

Luna Matsushima

Under the auspices of

the Embassy of France, Institut français du Japon

Presented by




Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Playhouse

1-8-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo


Tel: 03-5391-2111




2 minutes’ walk from West Exit of Ikebukuro Station on JR Line, Tokyo Metro, Tobu Tojo Line, and Seibu Ikebukuro Line. (Direct connection to the theatre from Exit 2b.)

View google map


Tickets on general sale from 10:00, September 28th, 2014

Early bird discount: All general tickets 30% off between September 20th and September 27th


General Tickets (+¥500 for tickets purchased on day) ¥5,500
Early Bird Discount ¥3,850
Pair ¥4,950
5 Performance Set ¥4,400
3 Performance Set ¥4,675
Student Tickets (show ID when collecting ticket) ¥3,000
High School & Under Tickets (show ID when collecting ticket) ¥1,000

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Saturday, 01 November
  • Ikebukuro Area
  • Nishi-Sugamo Area
  • Asakusa / Shinagawa
Saturday, 01 November