Donald Keene :: The Noh drama began quite early. We don't know just when it began, but probably as early as the eleventh century. However, most of the repertory, the plays that are performed today, are works that were written in the fifteenth or early sixteenth century.
These plays are short — to read them would only take a few minutes — but
in performance, a play that you can read in ten minutes may take an hour. The performance
is slow, deliberate, but more than that, it's intended to represent more than you
actually see with your eyes.