"Come play with us" takes on a new meaning at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown next month with the Studio 52 production of "A Thousand Cranes," as the community is asked to get involved in a project to honor Sadako Sasaki, a 12-year-old girl who faced an uphill battle as she fought radiation sickness from the bombing of Hiroshima.
The play "A Thousand Cranes," which tells Sadako's story, runs Nov. 11-20 at Flat Rock's downtown Hendersonville theater.
The community project is an invitation from the company of "A Thousand Cranes" directed at students of all ages to join the company in its efforts to fold “a thousand cranes.” The origami will aid the stage production and will later be sent to Japan to help in the celebration honoring Sadako during the 58th anniversary of the unveiling of Sadako Sasaki’s statue, erected in Hiroshima Peace Park.
The show and project are "an opportunity for the Playhouse to tell the story of hope and depict the struggle for peace in the lives of children across the world," according to a news release.
In the show, Sadako, an excellent athlete who trains rigorously with her friend Kenji to win an important foot race, falls ill. As the playhouse summarized: "It is clear she must instead begin the race for her life. Instead of losing hope, Sadako is reminded of an ancient Japanese story, 'if a sick person folds a thousand cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.' It is with this intent that the boundlessly optimistic Sadako sets out to build 'a thousand cranes.'"
Director Dave Hart explained that the cast of 17 students, ages 8-19, are rehearsing the show and enhancing the script with their own research.
“It is through this production that I hope audiences will gain an empathy and understanding of this young girl’s life as she fights to stay alive,” Hart said. “Her passion, her determination, and her desire that no other child must be hurt by war.”
With that in mind, the young actors set out "to fulfill Sadako’s wish of peace by folding the cranes that will be used in the set design of this production, as well as in performance."
Members of the community who wish to join in the project should contact Hart at Studio 52 at 828-693-3517 for information on how to participate, and how to drop off or ask for pickup of the completed origami. Studio 52 is asking all those participating to write down a wish on each origami paper before following one of the instructional online links for folding the paper crane.
“Come play with us, and make a difference in the world one crane at a time,” Hart said.
For instructions on how to fold origami cranes, email email@example.com or follow one of these links:
Performances of "A Thousand Cranes" are intended for ages fourth grade and up, due to the difficult issues discussed in the play. The show will run at the Playhouse Downtown, 125 S. Main St., Hendersonville, from Nov. 11-20. Tickets are $10-$18 via 828-693-0731 or flatrockplayhouse.org.
The cast for "A Thousand Cranes" includes Jia Hind and Marie Danos, alternating the role of Sadako; Joseph Sherer and Brice Farris, alternating the role of Kenji; Andrew Johnson as Father; Aniela Lane as Mother; and Lianas Pronyk and Mae Freeman, alternating the role of Grandmother Oba Can. The ensemble includes Ansley Blackford, Marissa Connelly, Zoe Corbin, Taylor Jane Frangesh, Alexander Guazzo, Sophia Larsen, Sara Killian, Auden Pelz and Emily Warrick.