The Silk Drum
A Modern Noh
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière, inspired by Yukio Mishima
Directed and choreographed by Kaori Ito & Yoshi Oida
Co-produced with the Festival d'Avignon and Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
In his latest stage production, the 87-year old acting legend Yoshi Oida teams up with dancer Kaori Ito. Oida, who spent many years working with Peter Brooks, presents his theatrical legacy in “The Silk Drum.” Inspired by the Noh play “Aya no Tsuzumi” and its adaptation by Yukio Mishima, Jean-Claude Carrière’s play tells the story of an old man who is cleaning the stage of a theatre when he falls in love with a dancer who is rehearsing her part on stage. This younger woman seems inaccessible to him. The young woman holds a Japanese drum out to him and tells him that if he can get a sound out of it, she will be his. She is preparing to rehearse a traditional Japanese dance, the dance of madness, to the sound of the drum. But the old man tries to get a sound out of the drum without success. The surface of the drum is made from silk and it makes no noise. This results in a terrible outcome for the desperate old man. He reappears covered in blood and comes back to haunt the young woman like a living ghost.
“The Silk Drum” subtly interweaves dialogue, dance, and percussion to create a dreamlike atmosphere. Its ephemeral beauty is seemingly simple, yet it contains hidden depths of raw emotion. It creates a caleidoscopic vision of theater and dance, terror and compassion, elegance and brutality that casts an inescapable spell on its audiences.