New Plays 日本の新作戯曲
The King of La Mancha’s Clothes
© Masaru Miyauchi
First Performance: 1991
Performance time: 2 hours
Acts / Scenes: 9 scenes
Cast: 10 (6 men, 4 women)
One night in what appears to be a hospital ward, the "King," rises from his bed, draws the thick drapes covering the walls, and sets off into the darkness of the night together with a "Clown."
The King is, in fact, the Emperor who once bought from swindlers a new suit made of special material invisible to the foolish, and marched naked in a procession through the town. Now, he is suffering from a mental illness.
A countryman strays onto the stage. He is, in fact, Sancho Panza, the good squire of Don Quixote. From this point on, the scene shifts to an inn from "Don Quixote." Here stays a jongleur, struggling with massive debts. His pessimistic daughter does not wish to believe anything other than "what the eyes can see." In front of the girl, the King wields the "sword of truth," presented in the jongleur’s pantomime, but she simply screams at him.
Then, NAKAGAWA Kyoko, a woman in modern clothing, walks in. She is followed by other characters that take off their period costumes to return to who they are in present time as the stunned King gazes on. They are in fact, his students, and he is, in reality, a former junior high school teacher. Because of trouble with the students, he lashed out and injured Kyoko in the face. This incident triggered his mental illness. The students say they have come to apologize for what they did, and to save the former teacher from his "nightmare."However, it turns out to be another malicious hoax. The King is dressed in invisible clothes and left to shiver in the cold, clutching his naked body.
Yokouchi entered the theater while still a student at Kanagawa Prefectural Atsugi High School, and his first play, Sansho Uo Dazo !, received a drama contest award for superior work. He started the Zennin Kaigi troupe in 1982 while a student at Waseda University, and it has staged works with strong narrative quality and individualistic characters. In 1993, the troupe changed its name to Tobira-za, suggesting a second start while still insisting on remaining with the theater troupe system. Yokouchi maintains a wide range of activities as a professional playwright with a broad range and a style that is "easy to watch, fun, and easy to understand." He has also written for the Super Kabuki led by Ennosuke Ichikawa as well as for the commercial theater. Other activities include work as a television personality and workshop leader. He received the Kishida Kunio Drama Award for
The King of La Mancha’s New Clothes
. With his performance of
, a Super-Kabuki, YOKOUCHI became the youngest person ever to win the OTANI Takejiro Award.