It’s 1955 and 12-year-old Sadako, with the help of her friend Kenji, is training for a race. Born in Hiroshima in 1943, she was only two when the atomic bomb was dropped over the city. Her grandmother died instantly, whereas her and her parents survived, apparently unscathed.
Sadly, the direct exposure to radiation has long-term effects that cannot be prevented and, a month before the sought-after race, Sadako is diagnosed with leukaemia. With very little time left to live, she spends her last months in hospital, surrounded by her loved ones.
The title of the play comes from the popular Japanese belief that if a sick person makes a wish and folds a thousand paper cranes, the Gods will listen and make it come true. Following Kenji’s suggestion, Sadako starts folding her paper cranes, but manages less than 500 by the time she passes.
The true story of Sadako Sasaki was published in 1977 as an illustrated children’s book by Eleanor Coerr and Ronald Himler. It has since become emblematic of all the innocent victims of the 1945 bomb, often used in schools as material for peace education.
A statue representing the little girl holding a ruby crane was erected in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial as a tribute to all the children victim of the atomic bomb. At her feet, a plaque reveals the wish she expressed when she began folding her cranes, ‘This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth’.
Playing the lead role with grace and remarkable physical ability, 16-year-old Maddy Flapper combines dance and aerial silks to deliver a stunning performance. At her side, the multitalented Calin Diamond – also aged 16 – offers a cameo appearance in a tight schedule that sees him performing nationally and internationally, on stage as well as in front of the camera.
Set in luscious surroundings, outside the Himeji Japanese Gardens, this family-friendly show is the perfect metaphor of a paper crane itself. Dainty, but with very elaborate features and carrying a deeply meaningful message behind its lightweight appearance.
Based on an original book by: Eleanor Coerr
Produced and Adapted by: The Gemini Collective
Co-Director and Choreography by: Sarah Williams
Co-Director: Anthony Butler
Booking Link: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/a-thousand-cranes-af2020
Booking Until: 1 March 2020