Sports Play

Reuniting Chiten, Elfriede Jelinek, and Masahiro Miwa for a provocative critique of sport, politics, and the media

Chiten opened its own per formance studio, UNDER-THROW, in Kyoto in 2013, where it continues to challenge the conventions of theater and theater spaces. Utilizing a wide range of global texts by the likes of Chekhov, Chiten has honed a radically new style of theater through director Motoi Miura’s deconstruction of language and body. Chiten first tackled the work of Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek in 2012 with its staging of Kein Licht., a postdramatic text devoid of narrative which Jelinek wrote in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima crisis. The highly acclaimed production was revived at Kyoto Experiment 2014. Deftly directed by Miura, it also featured a soundscape by composer Masahiro Miwa that resonated live voices.

Chiten has now chosen to stage Jelinek’s long 1998 work, Sports Play. In it, Jelinek likens today’s mass frenzy for sports to warfare. Her text interweaves multiple layers of fragmentary monologues, forming a vast collage with characters from Greek tragedy such as Electra, Achilles, and Hector that transcends straightforward social critique. Once again teaming up with composer Miwa, Chiten serves up a bold and avant-garde portrayal of sports in the twenty-first century, continually exploited by politics and the media.

South Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto
Kyoto, Japan


Chiten, meaning “locus” or “point”, is a theatre company led by director Motoi Miura. It specializes in performances created out of collages using fragments of existing texts. It employs an original linguistic style, deliberately delaying the cadence and rhythm of language to expose the raw sound of the words liberated from their meanings. This technique has frequently been recognized for its musical qualities. Rather than maintaining a single systematic methodology, Chiten explores a wide variety of approaches for the texts it adapts. Its major work includes a series of stagings of Chekhov plays, Brecht’s Fatzer, and Jelinek’s Kein Licht.. Originally based in Tokyo, Chiten moved to Kyoto in 2005. In 2013 it renovated a derelict former music venue to open an atel ier space: UNDER-THROW. At the space Chiten performs a repertoire of previous productions and new works. In 2011, it performed The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya at the Meyerhold Centre in Moscow. It was invited to perform Coriolanus at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London as part of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012. Alongside its acclaimed overseas tours, it regularly receives commissions for co-productions with public theatres and festivals in Japan, including the Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT) in Yokohama, Kyoto Experiment, and Festival/Tokyo.

TextElfriede Jelinek
TranslationMasayuki Tsuzaki
DirectionMotoi Miura
Music directionMasahiro Miwa
CastSatoko Abe, Dai Ishida, Koji Ogawara, Shie Kubota, Saki Kohno, Yohei Kobayashi, Yuki Tanaka
ChorusYuko Asahiyama, Kazuya Inoue, Asuka Imai, Sho Imaizumi, Kazuki Ohata, Tomona Omichi Hitoshi Kaneko, Nanako Tajima, Shingo Tokoro, Hayama, Midori Matsuyama, Yui Murata, Yoshiya Yoshimitsu, Tomomi Yonezu
Stage designJunpei Kizu
Lighting designShinichiro Oishi (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Lighting operatorMari Iwata (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Sound designReiko Tokuhisa (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Sound operatorHaruhi Imai (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Kinect supervisionAsami Takami (IAMAS)
Video technicalKazuyuki Niikura
Stage managerShinichi Koganei (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Production managerSonoko Yamamoto (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Technical directorMahito Horiuchi (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre)
Costumes designColette Huchard
Costumes productionKyoko Komoda
Publicity designHisaki Matsumoto
Production coordinatorBunichi Ito (KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre), Aya Komori, Yuna Tajima (all for Chiten), Tomoya Takeda (ROHM Theatre Kyoto)
Production assistantSara Miyagi (ROHM Theatre Kyoto)
Production supportTakuya Igami
Produced byChiten
Co-produced byKyoto Experiment/ ROHM Theatre Kyoto, KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre, In cooperation with Institut français du Japon – Kansai
Presented byKyoto Experiment