Written by Lisa Sanaye Dring Directed by Ralph B. Peña

True victory is victory over oneself

Entrenched in an elite sumo training facility in Tokyo, six men practice, eat, love, play and ultimately fight.

Akio arrives as an angry, ambitious 18 year old with a lot to learn. Expecting validation, dominance and fame, and desperate to move up the ranks, he slams headlong into his fellow wrestlers, especially Mitsuo, the highest ranked fighter. With sponsorship money at stake, their bodies on the line, and their futures at risk, the wrestlers struggle to carve themselves – and one another – into the men they dream of being.

Lisa Sanaye Dring has painted a vivid world with poetic precision, mixing ancient, divine ritual with the guttural ferocity of competition. SUMO was a hit as part of our DNA New Work Series in 2021. Directed by Ralph B. Peña (artistic director of Ma-Yi Theater) and featuring live taiko drumming, we are thrilled to bring this tenderly drawn and unique work to life for San Diego audiences.

“Welcome to the dohyō. Where the national heroes of Japan are made. These men are not gods, they are sumo. But sumo wrestlers were once gods.”


Enhance your Playhouse experience by attending these free events. Simply book your performance for one of the following dates.

Talkback Tuesday
Participate in a lively discussion with performers and Playhouse staff members immediately following the performance.
Tue, Oct 3 and 10, after the 7:30pm show

Discovery Sunday
Hear from guest speakers in a moderated discussion exploring the themes of the show.
Sun, Oct 15 after the 2pm show


ACCESS Performance (ASL interpretation): Sat Oct 14, 2pm
ACCESS Performance (Audio Description): Sat Oct 14, 2pm

Access performances offer American Sign Language interpretation for patrons who are d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing and Audio Description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. The Playhouse caters for a wide range of access and special requirements. Please call (858) 550-1010 or email boxoffice@ljp.org and we will work with you to address your access needs. Find more info about access here.

Sensory Friendly Guide
Read the Sensory Friendly Guide for the Forum Theatre here


Mandell Weiss Forum


Lisa Sanaye Dring |


Ralph B. Peña |

Design Team

  • Wilson Chin | Scenic Designer
  • Mariko Ohigashi | Costume Designer
  • Paul Whitaker | Lighting Designer
  • Fabian Obispo | Sound Designer
  • Hana Kim | Projection Designer
  • Albert "Albee" Alvarado | Wig Designer
  • Chelsea Pace | Intimacy & Fight Director
  • James Yaegashi | Cultural & Martial Arts Consultant
  • Alice Tuan | Dramaturg
  • tbd casting | Casting
  • Stephanie Yankwitt/Jacole Kitchen | Casting
  • Isabel Rodriguez | Assistant Director

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