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Function: stage director playwright
Company: Tobiraza

Yokouchi was born in Tokyo and is leader of the Tobiraza theater company. He first became involved in theater in high school in Kanagawa, and while studying at Waseda University he established the Zennin Kaigi troupe with fellow graduates from the drama department. As the writer and director of most of the troupe's plays, he staged many productions with rich narratives and idiosyncratic characters on the premise that theater should be "accessible, fun, and easy to understand." In 1993 the troupe changed their name to Tobiraza. Yokouchi is also active in other areas, including writing scripts for TV dramas, directing and supervising fairs and festivals, and heading workshops. He has also written scripts for a wide range of theatrical genres, including Ichikawa Ennosuke's Super Kabuki, Ninagawa Yukio, and SMAP. In 1992, his play Gusha ni wa mienai La Mancha no osama no hadaka (The King of La Mancha's Clothes) won the 36th Kishida Drama Award. In 1999, he became the youngest ever winner of the Otani Takejiro Award for his Super Kabuki play Shin sangokushi (A New Epic of Three Kingdoms).

Photo: Miyauchi Katsu
Gusha ni wa mienai La Mancha no osama no hadaka (The King of La Mancha’s Clothes)
A naked and mentally disturbed king has left his sickbed to go on a trip along with Sancho Panza. We join them in a lodging house. The king is berated by a dissolute maiden who believes only in what she can see with her eyes, whereupon all the characters on stage start taking off their clothes and turn into junior high school students. It transpires that the king is, a junior high school teacher, and they have come along in order to wake him up from his nightmare, which only causes him further torment. The “king” is made to wear invisible clothes and is left hugging his naked body shivering with cold.

First staged: 1991
Acts/scenes: 9 scenes
Cast: 10 (6 male, 4 female)
First staged by: Tobiraza
[Translation] English: Half a Century of Japanese Theater III 1980s Part1, published by Kinokuniya and available from Tobiraza

Photo: Miyauchi Katsu
Doriru damashii—ga ga ga ga ga — (Drill Soul)
The audience is supposed to be on an inspection tour of a construction site, which is set up onstage. As various incidents and human relationships are depicted, the workers gradually want to believe in their ability to build something. All the characters are employees of Todoroki Construction Company and, dressed in workmen’s clothes, they wield pickaxes and electric drills, sing, dance, and occasionally actually build something in what has been dubbed Japan’s first “construction site musical.”

First staged: 2007
Acts/scenes: 9 scenes
Cast: 18 (10 male, 8 female)
First staged by: Tobiraza