The Damask Drum, a Noh Play

Motley Theatre Design Course project, 1999

Credits | Reviews  ⇓


Unknown writer, perhaps Zeami, 15th Century

Directed by Bill Gaskil

Stage and Costume Design by Jean-Marc Puissant

Site Specific on a Soho car parks rooftop

This project was set by director Bill Gaskil as an exercise to explore ways to update the staging of a traditional Noh theatre play and making the art form more legible to a western audience.


This site specific production would have been set on the gravel-covered roof of an urban car park in London. Without needing to add much to the space, this location presented the opportunity to juxtapose a 17th century art form with the modern skyline of the city and monumental shapes of large satellite dishes. Minimal frames made out of aged metallic pipes would indicate outlines of rooms and locations, mirroring the Noh tradition using frames made out of bamboo sticks.


Similarly, costuming would have retained shapes and volumes of traditional Noh costumes, using the technology of photo printed images on silks to zoom in on the symbolic relevence or state of mind of characters.