The Lexington Children’s Theatre makes us laugh with shows like Flat Stanley, makes us cry with shows like Gossamer, and with A Thousand Cranes we can reflect on our past and look toward our future.
The story of A Thousand Cranes is a traditional Japanese story. People believe if you are sick and fold 1000 paper origami cranes you will become well. The play follows the true story of the life of Sadako Sasaki, a child from Japan who, at the age of 2, was living in Hiroshima when the bomb fell. We meet her at 2 then flash forward 10 years when the effects of the radiation from the bomb have now left her fighting leukemia.
The topics of cancer and war mean this play is a better fit for kids ages 8 and up or 3rd grade and up, however, if you know your child can handle these discussions the message of the play is uplifting and despite the tragic storyline it’s a great way to focus on peace for the future.
As you arrive you see traditional Japanese clothing, instruments, and a doorway. Looking over the many instruments as part of the set is a fun way to have kids attentive throughout as they see the various actors playing them to set the mood of the play. Kids who attended Senora Tortuga will enjoy seeing some actors from that play appearing in this performance.
The play introduces us to the Sasaki family in 1945 when the bomb fell in Hiroshima. The lights change, music plays, and we see the family upset by this ‘white light’. Sadako’s grandmother did not survive the blast but Sadako was seemingly unhurt.
We then move ahead 10 years and see Sadako now running with a friend as she trains for a special race. She’s happy, appears healthy, and is excited for her future. This quickly changes as she begins to feel pain in her legs. The news is not good. Leukemia. Instead of running she is now fighting for her life in a hospital. Her friend continues to visit and it is this friend who shares the story of the 1000 cranes and creates her first crane for her.
Sadako then begins to fold. And fold. Despite becoming more and more ill we continue to hear counting throughout the play as Sadako continues to fold. We then witness Sadako’s grandmother coming for a visit in a beautiful Japanese kimono decorated with cranes. Her grandmother has come to bring her back to the ancestors.
She has folded 644 cranes. Her family and friend mourn her loss but she is not forgotten. The last 356 cranes are folded by her friends and schoolmates. The story of Sadako lives on today and the desire for peace is as real today as it was in 1945.
There is a statue of Sadako in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan where people come and lay paper cranes. The statue was built using funds her friends and schoolmates raised. It is a tribute to all the children who died from the effects of the bomb. At the foot of the statue a plaque reads…
“This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.”
Another interesting fact is that of the 644 cranes she folded some are now in places like Ground Zero and the USS Arizona memorial.
Going on until March 29th at the Lexington Public Library Gallery at the Central Branch is a photo exhibit of pictures from World War II. If you’d like to extend your learning this would be another great visit to make.
“Lexington’s Greatest Generation: World War II” features the stories and struggles of those who fought both at home and abroad to make the world safe for democracy. Learn what it was like for our soldiers in the field as they fought through Africa, Italy, and France. Plus, learn about the struggles and sacrifices that were made on the home front to support the war.
March 17 – 21
by Kathryn Schultz Miller
Recommended for 8yrs+ / 3rd grade+
Sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy years since the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
Over five hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred known cases of leukemia caused by the bombing.
Meet one of the eighteen hundred, Sadako.
Discover how the life of a little girl became legend and how her exuberant spirit left a legacy of hope.
PUBLIC PERFORMANCE DATES
Saturday, March 21 – 2:00
Saturday, March 21 – 7:00 (Pay What You Can Tickets Available)
Sunday, March 22 – 2:00
PUBLIC TICKET PRICES
$15 – adults
$13 – youth under 18
$10 – $12 – SUBSCRIBERS