Theatre Nohgaku

New works still in development

Works in Development


Phoenix Fire

An intercultural work for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


Text and Music by Kevin Salfen


It is October 1964, the day before the Tokyo Olympics, the first to be held in Asia. The filmmaker Ichikawa Kon (1915-2008), who is making a documentary about the Olympics, meets an old man, the spirit of Kanō Jigorō (1860-1938), the founder of judo and Representative to the International Olympic Committee in the years leading up to the failed 1940 games. Ichikawa assures the old man that the Tokyo Olympics will begin tomorrow, and the shite reveals his identity before disappearing from the field. During the ai-kyogen, two vendors arrive to sell food to the gathering crowd. They discuss the nature of the Olympics: Is it all about money, an alternative to war, national pride or about testing the limits of humankind? After their conversation, Ichikawa announces the start of the opening ceremonies, various events are briefly described—enacted by the universal Athlete, beyond nationality, ethnicity, or gender. The games close in celebration and hope.

Follow the work in progress on the Phoenix Fire Facebook page