articles, reviews, press releases about ArtReach plays
Actors Take on Martin Luther Kings Story
"This Play is for Everyone
Who Believes in Freedom for All
for all of us... We are the dream."
Review by Jane Belden for the
Trinity Journal (CA)
Performance by Trinity Players
Summer Youth Theatre Workshop, 7/16/14
Directed by Bridget Rogers and
After only four weeks of education, Trinity
Players Summer Youth Theater Workshop pulled off an excellent
production at Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center in Weaverville.
We are the Dream opened with the actors singing
and walking down the stairs to the stage where paintings of posters
of civil rights were hung at the back and risers where the cast were
placed casually, yet quietly, unseen until actively participating in
I had the opportunity to read the script a few
months ago and it emotionally moved me, but made me wonder how
non-blacks would pull it off. Well, I have to tell you that it
didnt matter what the ethnic background of the actors were,
they did pull it off royally.
Bridget Rogers says in her directors
notes, "We have come a long way since segregation, though we
still have progress to make. We mustnt let it make us bitter,
or have hate in our hearts. We must always love others. The dream
continues to live in the hearts and souls of every person, young or
old, male or female, who believes in freedom for all."
-- Jane Belden for the Trinity Journal (CA)
Thousand Cranes' comes to Englewood stage
By Michael W. Curley, Jr.,
Gannett Publishing, Dec 2016
ENGLEWOOD The library and a local church
brought a story of hope and peace to the city with a production of "A
The play, staged at St. Paul's Episcopal Church
on Wednesday by the Centenary Stage Company of Hackettstown, tells
the story of Sadako Sasaki, who survived the Hiroshima bomb at the
age of 2, before being diagnosed with leukemia at age 11. The
production includes music, dance and both English and Japanese dialogue.
A Thousand Cranes, Centenary Stage Co.,
The title refers to a Japanese legend
that if one folds 1,000 paper origami cranes, they will be granted a
wish for Sasaki, this meant her own health and world peace.
Although Sasaki died in 1955, her effort
inspired a children's peace movement, and today a statue of her
stands in Hiroshima Peace Park, decorated by paper cranes folded by
children from around the world and, more recently, by President Obama
during a visit to the country earlier this year.
"She was such an upbeat and positive and
cheerful, hopeful little girl," Mary Witherell, director of the
Englewood Public Library, said. She said she decided to bring the
play to the city to spread its message of hope and peace,
particularly given current events, such as President-elect Donald
Trump calling for an "arms race" while tweeting in
reference to nuclear proliferation.
"Though this isn't typical holiday fare, I
thought the message would be meaningful to the people here," she said.
Witherell said she first heard of the play when
she was director of the Wyckoff Free Public Library. Following the
November election, she remembered the play and began a program for
library patrons to fold cranes for a pair of peace trees the Friends
of the Englewood Library donated as holiday decorations.
The trees, now filled with the cranes, pulled
double duty as set pieces for the play, which Witherell said the
church was "very enthusiastic" about staging.
"Part of the Christmas season we're in is
about remembering grace and how God shines light and life in our
lives," said the Rev. William H. Allport II, rector at St.
Paul's. "It's a great way to share a gift with the community and
across cultures, since it is a Japanese story."
He said the message of the play is apropos to
the times, and speaks to the "wonderfully diverse"
community in and around the church.
"It's a comforting message, but also an
example, a story of how community comes together," he said.
presents: Peter Pan
The Journal, New Ulm, MN --
March 7, 2018
NEW ULM Join the plucky Peter Pan and
the Darling children in Neverland as Martin Luther College (MLC)
students perform Peter Pan.
Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey
Tinker Bell (Sara Marquardt, left), Peter Pan (Dan Granberg, middle),
and Peters Shadow (Noelle Boucher, right) ask the audience to
blow air at the stage to make a wind for them to fly to Neverland.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the
auditorium at MLC, guests can watch the MLC Childrens Theatre
performance for $2 a ticket.
I have an amazing cast and I appreciate
all of the work they have done and I would love for everyone to come
see it if they can, Director Alec Bergmann said.
The show, written by Kathryn Schultz Miller,
follows the classic story told in the Disney adaptation.
Peter Pan (Dan Granberg) takes Wendy (Alyssa
Tessmer), Michael (Corey Paske) and John (Duke Backhaus) to Neverland
so Wendy can mother the Lost Boys.
Meanwhile, Captain Hook (Eric Dorn)
single-mindedly pursues vengeance for his hand that Peter fed to the
Crocodile (Noelle Boucher).
The show has a few twists and turns that
Bergmann said he would like to keep secret for now. Though one major
aspect is audience participation.
We have a large variety of things for the
audience to do all throughout the show, Bergmann said.
From helping Peter find other characters to
summoning a wind to help the children fly, the audience is almost as
much of the show as the cast.
The breakdown of the fourth wall begins as
guests enter, where they will find the actors in character.
We decorate the entire hallway for all
the children to walk through and have fun with the characters before
the show, Bergmann said.
The evening performances follow hard upon two
days of shows for students bused in from around the state, Bergmann said.
The actors perform three times a day Wednesday
and again Thursday (not counting the public performance) to over
5,000 kids, Bergmann said.
But that is not all.
With this show, what is different about
it from all other MLC shows is that we travel, Bergmann said.
Each year the show alternates between two
schools, thus the set is pretty minimalistic. That is also to
encourage childrens imaginations, Bergmann said.
So put on some dancing shoes, sprinkle on some
fairy dust and join MLC Childrens Theatre on their way to Neverland.
Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at [email protected]
LEGEND OF MULAN
School News, Lihue, Hawaii - 1/10/2018
graders are preparing in earnest for their upcoming show, "The
Legend of Mulan," by Kathryn Schultz Miller and directed by
Peggy Ellenburg. Yesterday, the class had a session on set painting
led by former Island School parent and volunteer, Laurel McGraw.
These photos capture them painting base colors on their backdrop
flats. The finished product will be of a Chinese landscape.
volunteers have been assisting with set building and volunteer
coordination. Anyone wishing to get involved with sets or costumes is
encouraged to contact Peggy Ellenburg: 808-639-7963.
Legend of Mulan" will run the weekend of March 2-4 at the
Island School theatre.
Review, Decatur, IL
by Decatur's Golden K (Kiwanis) and the Millikin School of Theatre
and Dance, this year's Theatre for Children is "Blue
Horses" by Kathryn Schultz Miller.
On a summer
evening four young people don't want to go home just yet. One invents
a game of "wish upon a star" which demands that each friend
tell a life story in which the others can take roles and help the
central characters achieve their goals. One rides his intergalactic
bicycle through the asteroid belt to a distant plant to discover and
defend against hostile beings. Another wishes for his twin brother to
help him solve the day-to-day problems of schoolwork. His wish is
granted until he discovers his unique talents and chooses to be
who struggles to be normal in her family of artists find that vision
improves when horses really can be blue. Each person's story helps
him or understand and assist one another in the trials and
tribulations of grow up, gaining self-confidence and making friends.
imaginations run wild in Millikin children's play
Review, Decatur, IL
Millikin University students enjoy a good childrens program as
much as most children, especially when they get to do the pretending.
School of Theatre and Dance will present two performances of the
childrens play Blue Horses
by Kathryn Schultz Miller at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday,
Nov. 5, in Millikin Universitys Kaeuper Hall in Perkinson Music Center.
The story is
about four children using their active imaginations and learning
about themselves along the way. Their game Wish Upon a
Star sends them on adventures, with their friends helping them
through their trips. One rides his bike to other planets. Another
dreams his has a twin. Still another simply wants to learn how to
the stories, the friends act out the adventures with help from each
other. Each child discovers self confidence and gains new friends.
The play was
created to entertain children. However, Millikin students appreciate
a good story too.
Millikin director, Denise Myers provides the students learning
opportunities through various acting disciplines.
play has lots of action, she said. And our students get
to learn about how to put on a childrens program.
Myers, Millikin has presented an annual childrens play for 25
years. The shows are produced by Millikin as well as the School of
Theatre and Dance. Other civic groups, such as the Optimist Club,
have co-produced throughout the years. For nearly 10 years, the
Golden K Kiwanis of Decatur has helped support the plays. The
organizations mission is to help children through various
opportunities of volunteering and fundraising. Myers is grateful for
their partnership in creating the childrens plays.
provide money for costumes and sets, Myers said. In turn,
the money goes back into the community.
Act to Perform at Sub-sections
Jan 26, 2016, Hinckley News,
The Hinckley-Finlayson drama department will be
performing 'A Thousand Cranes'
this Saturday at the sub-section competition in Pine City. The
play is by Kathryn Schultz Miller and is based on the true story of
Sadako Sasaki who survived the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in WWII.
Participating schools include
Hinckley-Finlayson, East Central, Pine City, Rush City and Brraham.
H-F is scheduled to perform at 9 a.m.
Rose Children's Theatre Puts
on a Classic:
Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island
By Randi Bjornstad,
EugeneScene.org, Eugene, OR
More than 125 years after it was written,
Treasure Island still captures imaginations with its wild
tale of searching for buried treasure, running off to sea, fighting
evil pirates, actually finding the treasure and finally, returning
home to live happily ever after.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his adventure
novel in the early 1880s, with the express purpose of entertaining
youngsters yearning for excitement. Besides becoming a classic in
book form, the story has been made into movies several times, as well
as adapted as plays, including one that appeared on Broadway for more
than 200 performances in 1915.
This time, though, its the Rose
Childrens Theatres turn to take Treasure
Island to the stage, which they will do for four performances
on Feb. 16-18. Their story is a bit different from the usual. In
their version, young Jim Hawkins has a very bad day, dreams of
becoming a pirate, meets up with Billy Bones and Long John Silver and
has his own pirate-and-treasure adventure.
Island, Rose Childrens Theatre, Eugene, OR
Also unlike Stevensons story, the Rose
Childrens Theatre play also incorporates an expanded number of
colorful characters such as mermaids, dancing crabs and a bevy of
very talkative parrots.
The cast includes 51 actors in third through
tenth grades, directed by Judy Wenger and Rebekah Hope. The script
was adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller of ArtReach Childrens
Featured actors are Jack Perini as Jim Hawkins,
Isaac Lonergan as Long John Silver and Elias Santin as Ben Gunn, with
Enzo Valdez playing Captain Smollett, Clara Christensen as Squire
Trelawney, Henry Davis Piger as Dr. Livesay and Ellie Williams as the
pirate known as Blind Pew and Hugh Brinkley as Billy Bones, another pirate.
Additional pirates are played by Natalie Stern,
Casey Beasley-Bennett, Maren Nixon, Raiden Kautzman, Flynn Miller,
Sydney Sattler, Addison Sattler and Noah Wagner.
The cast also includes mermaids Bella Morgan,
Vera Lichvarcik, Alana Strand, Peyton Anderson, Sofia Kovash; crabs
Nate Rosenfeld, Kevin McCoy, Ethan Park, Tristan Riplinger and August
Santin; parrots Gage Wagner, Siena Buchanan, Peter Christensen, Eli
Turanski and Greenley Robinson.
Sarah Pearson plays the mother, and
storytellers include Avery Puhn, Owen Colley, Ben Carson, Ruby
McKrola-Dey, Vivien Tritch, Jani von Ammon, Gus Nelson and Caroline
Robinson. Ruby McPherson and Anna Pierce are teachers, and the
inhabitants of Skeleton Island are played by Natasha Dracobly,
Kaitlyn Pintens, Piper Kyle, Kennedy Powell, Meridian Hula, Dora
Boos, Ellie Park, June Robinson and Elena Morris.
Theater presents A THOUSAND CRANES This March
by BWW News Desk, Detroit, Feb.
Wild Swan Theater will present A
Thousand Cranes as part of its 38th season of bringing high
quality professional theater to young audiences in southeast
Michigan. Wild Swan is very proud to be bringing A Thousand Cranes
back to the stage. This very beautiful and moving play tells the true
story of a young Japanese girl's experience after the bombing of
Hiroshima. The play recounts Sadako's illness from radiation
poisoning and how her friend Kenji teaches her to fold paper cranes
as a way of getting well. Sadako's story became a catalyst for
children from all over Japan to begin to fold paper cranes in her
memory. Now there is a monument to Sadako at the Hiroshima Peace Park
in Japan and people from all over the world bring garlands of cranes
As the play begins, Sadako (Monica Mingo) is
practicing for a race with her best friend Kenji (Jeremy Salvatori).
Without warning, she suddenly falls ill and is hospitalized. As her
parents (Jeff Miller and Elaine Riedel) try to keep up her spirits,
she begins to fold paper cranes, having learned from Kenji that if
she folds a thousand, the spirits will grant her a wish. As her
condition worsens, she is visited in a dream by her grandmother
(Slavka Jelinkova) who takes her to the spirit world. There she meets
and learns the stories of many people who were killed when the atomic
bomb fell. As she joins her grandmother in the spirit world, Sadako
changes her wish from getting well to hoping for peace in the world.
Wild Swan Theatre, Ann Arbor, MI
The style of the production is very theatrical
with music and masks playing very important roles. University of
Michigan Professor of Music Erik Santos has written the haunting
score for the production, and the music is integrated completely into
the production. An array of unusual percussion instruments
underscores the flute (played by Lisa Warren) and creates many of the
sound effects. All the cast members join the percussionist to play
such instruments as drums, bells, glass bowls, a rain stick, and a
marimba when they are not acting in a particular scene.
Seven austerely beautiful red and white masks,
created by costumer John Gutoskey, help shift the scene, first to the
hospital and then to the world of the spirits. Actors Don White masks
as they create the hospital scenes. The red masks are worn by actors
as they create the world of the spirits.
As is customary in Wild Swan productions,
American Sign Language Interpreters take an active part in the
production. In this production, Marin Goldberg and Erin Parrish are
dressed as the rest of the cast in flowing black Japanese robes. As
well as interpreting all the spoken lines of dialogue, they also join
other cast members as doctors and spirits and dance with the
grandmother and Sadako.
Today there is a monument to Sadako in the
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and garlands of cranes are hung there
from all over the world. As in past performances of this play by Wild
Swan, attending families are invited to bring paper cranes to the
theater or make them after attending the A Thousand Cranes. Origami
paper and instruction will be provided after each performance so that
those audience members can make their own folded paper crane with
their own message of peace. All the cranes will be displayed in the
theater during the run of the production and will be sent to the
Children's Peace Monument in Japan afterwards. If you have visited
Hiroshima, you might have seen cranes folded by children from
throughout southeast Michigan, transported to the monument after one
of Wild Swan's earlier productions of the play in 1994, 1998, and
2005. This production is recommended for children in grades 3 - 12.
This production is supported in part by the
Ford Motor Company Fund, James A. and Faith Knight Foundation,
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Humanities
Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National
Endowment for the Arts.
Backstage touch tours and audio-description are
available for blind theater patrons. These services are free but must
be reserved in advance by calling (734) 995-0530.
Wild Swan Theater is dedicated to making
professional theater of the highest artistic quality for young people
and families that is accessible, diverse and inclusive, through
affordable ticket prices and innovative outreach programs. For more
information about the company, its current season, touring programs,
drama classes and camps, visit the Wild Swan website at
wildswantheater.org. For interviews, contact Michelle Trame Lanzi at
girls search for peace in A Thousand Cranes
Ray, The International Examiner, Seattle, Jan
Since its inception 19 years ago, SecondStory
Repertory (SSR) has offered both a mainstage season and a season of
Theater for Young Audiences every year. This season, Kathryn Schultz
Millers play, A
Thousand Cranes, which tells the story of young Hiroshima
resident Sadako Sasakis pursuit of peace following the dropping
of the atomic bomb, will be featured during weekend matinees for
children for four weeks.
Mark Chenovick, executive director for SSR,
feels that A Thousand Cranes is especially appropriate to the winter
season. I first became aware of A Thousand Cranes while working
for the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, he said. They had
mounted a production in their previous season and everyone who worked
on the show was profoundly moved.
The shows director, David Hsieh, also
finds the shows timing notable. Im certainly
familiar with the story of Sadako, having read the childrens
book, and having folded many, many cranes in my lifetime, Hsieh
said. Its funny because I recently performed in a new
play that also had many paper cranes featured in the plot and
referenced Sadakos story, so it has been my winter of paper
cranes in theatre.
Thousand Cranes, SecondStory Repertory, Redmond, WA
Current events also highlight the storys
importance. With growing concerns over North Koreas
atomic bomb threat, its definitely an important story to
tell, Hsieh added, and spreading and keeping Sadakos
wish alive is of utmost importance.
The timing was also perfect for actor Tomoko
Saito, who plays the roles of Grandmother Oba Chan and the Mother,
and who felt compelled to audition. This is a famous Japanese
story, but I had no idea that it was adapted to a stage play, so I
was very curious about the script, Saito said. I heard so
many good things about SecondStory Repertory, and I always wanted to
work with David but never had a chance before, so this production had
everything I wanted in one package.
The artistic team is focusing on staging the
play to maintain the interest of all grade school age children.
Being a childrens show, this adaptation as written is
fairly short, almost too short, director Hsieh said. One
of our challenges has been finding interesting and culturally
significant ways of expanding what the audiences will experience when
they see this production.
Actor Saito relates one instance of this
process from rehearsal. I thought it was funny that we all got
notes from David to use force as in Star Wars
during the course of rehearsals, Saito said. I
learned acting in the U.S. so my initial characterization for my
roles were very modern U.S. I was having trouble shifting the gear to
be a more traditional, restrained mother, and David advised to not
physically show affection but use the force to love. It
was effective, too!
Chenovick hopes that these choices will welcome
a broader audience to SSR. The original artistic director of
SSR had written a number of plays and musicals based on well-known
fairy tales aimed specifically at young children, he said.
When Jen Klos and I began our tenure at SSR, we kept the
program alive but shifted the focus to plays and musicals based on
contemporary childrens literature. This allowed us to cultivate
a larger age range in our audiences and appeal to an increasingly
diverse patron base.
He also strives to make SSR a place that kids
want to return to. SSR is a wonderful venue for children to
experience theater for the first time, he said. We lay
carpet down on the floor so the kids can be as close to the action as
possible, and we maintain a relaxed and supportive atmosphere in
which children can learn the basics of theater etiquette and parents
can gauge their childrens attention spans for potential
theatrical endeavors in their future.
At its heart, this production of A
Thousand Cranes is intended to present serious issues in a way
that sparks compassion. Although suffering is universal,
Chenovick said, so is the hope for a better tomorrow.
A Thousand Cranes runs from Jan.13 to Feb. 3 at
SecondStory Repertory, 7325 166th Avenue NE, Suite F250, Redmond.
A Thousand Cranes
By Kathryn Schultz Miller |
Directed by David Hsieh
January 13, 2018 - February 3, 2018
The true and poignant story of Sadako Sasaki,
who was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on the small
city of Hiroshima, where she lived. The star of her school's running
team, Sadako is lively and athletic ... until the dizzy spells start.
Then she must face the hardest race of her life - the race against
time. A Thousand Cranes
celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, completed in 1958, has a statue of
Sadako holding a golden crane. At the base is a plaque that says:
"This is our cry, this is our prayer: peace in the world."
Live Theater at the Redmond Town Center
WINTER HAVEN: SHAKESPEARE TO GO!
A Play for Young Audiences by
Kathryn Schultz Miller
An ensemble of teens performing for their peers
at local middle and high schools!
PUBLIC PERFORMANCE: SHAKESPEARE
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 6:30 pm
LOCATION: Theatre Winter Haven | http://www.theatrewinterhaven.com/
TICKETS: $5 General Admission
Co-produced by The George W. Jenkins Fund
within the GiveWell Foundation
Please stop by the Box Office to purchase your tickets!
Presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Widener Childrens Theatre Workshop
The Widener Childrens Theatre Workshop
(CTW) performed The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the famed ghost story originally penned
by Washington Irving, on November 3, 4, and 6. Unlike Washington
Irvings or Tim Burtons version of the story, this was
specifically written for a younger audience.
Widener Childrens Theatre Workshop
The story still follows the same basic plot: a
middle-aged school teacher named Ichabod Crane (Brian Harrington)
comes to the town of Sleepy Hollow to take a job as the new school
teacher. Ichabod falls for the young Katrina Van Tassel (Kara
Gilbert), a woman whom Brom Bones (Jon Owens) has already spoken for.
Brom wastes no time in telling Ichabod of the Headless Horseman (Dan
Cronin), the ghost who haunts the bridge in the town. This version
deviates the most from the others in the plays climax when
Ichabod meets his demise at the hands of the Headless Horseman.
Unlike other adaptations, CTWs production contains more comic
relief and less scares.
The play, however, was meant specifically for
children and in that regard was a success. The children in the
audience were very receptive, both during and after the show. "I
would ask rhetorical questions and they would answer,
Harrington said of his performance. "Theyre a lot more
receptive. Cronin offered a similar sentiment. "With adult
theater, people are more subdued. What makes it special for
[children] is knowing it played for them. During the show, many
of the children offered more audible cues than simply laughter or
screaming. If there was a plot point, for example, that a child
didnt understand, he would express that aloud.
As a 20-year-old writer, its difficult to
put myself in the mindset of a child and enjoy it in that manner.
However, I agree with the performers that the children in attendance
found it extremely enjoyable. As a college student, I didnt
find the conclusion frightening, but if I were in grade school, I
probably would have. During the shows confrontation between
Ichabod and the Horseman, the audience reacted the most, both with
laughter and screams.
Unlike traditional theater, this production
took full advantage of the building in which it was being performed.
Most theater creates a separation between the audience and the
performers; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow instead tried to build a gap
between the two. During the climax, Ichabod is chased by the Horseman
not just on the stage, but through the isles and the seats, which
allowed the audience to react even more strongly. To further solidify
the union between the performers and the audience, after the
performance the cast took questions from the audience.
To be sure, the response I got from the cast
was that it was equally as fun for them as it was for the children.
"I got a real kick out of making six hundred kids scream,
said a smiling Cronin. Lisa Eckley Cocchiarale, the director of the
play, described it as being an intelligent play made specifically for
kids. If the reactions of the children were any indication, the play
was a success.
Survivor Honored by A Thousand Cranes Cast Members
From Salisbury Post (NC) - March 8, 2014
"Suddenly, Leonard said, "the
play means more. Art is not just about applause. It has a history.
Theres a lot of good things in it.
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST Bayleigh Grace
Miller , who plays one of the parts of main character Sadako in the
"It was kind of like a connection between
me and her. Im Sadako, and shes Sadako, too.
Piedmont Players Theatres "A
Thousand Cranes is the story of a young girl growing up in
the shadow of Hiroshima. But to the young cast members, its
become much more than that. Theyve had the opportunity to
meet Yoshiko Otey, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima.
And in between shows for the countys
fourth-graders this week at the Norvell Theatre, they were folding
1,000 cranes for her.
When Otey was diagnosed with lymphoma a few
years ago, their daughter sent her a box of tiny cranes. It meant
more to Otey than any words her daughter couldve said.
The cast decided to do the same to wish her well.
In the play, the girl, Sadako, becomes ill 10
years after the bombing of Hiroshima. She wanted to fold 1,000
cranes, based on the legend that doing so would restore her to
health. She only made 644 before her death, but her classmates
finished for her, making an additional 356 cranes. Today, a
statue in her honor can be found in Hiroshima a cry for peace
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST:
Fleming Otey helps Vivien Rudisell with her costume.
Rudisell plays the part of the
grandmother in the Norvell Children's Theater production
At 9 a.m., theyd performed for a house
full of students, all sitting in hushed excitement, eager to see the
30-minute, one-act play.
Their admission ticket? A folded crane.
There were already hundreds of colorful cranes
decorating the lobby. Director Reid Leonard said the lobby
would be full of cranes by the end of the week. Theoretically, he
said, the cast could give three people 1,000 cranes each in
addition to the 1,000 they were making for Otey.
"Were in the healing business now, Leonard said.
"Its one of the things this cast never expected.
You never know exactly where a show will go,
Leonard noted. "You just launch it and hope. Each
cast member dropped a completed crane into his or her own small,
plastic laundry basket. The Oteys stood nearby, looking on with
Pastor Otey has seen the play more than
once. "Its just as strong each time, he said.
Seeing the play for Yoshiko Otey has been
emotional but healing, she said. "Its been such a long
time. Its like waking up from a dream. Following
treatment, Otey is doing well.
Review for A Thousand Cranes
Theatre Review: Childsplay,
Tempe Center for the Arts
By David Appleford, Phoenix AZ
Sadako was just three years old when the United
States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945. Her home was little
more than a mile from where it fell. Years later, while
training for a foot race with her friend Kenji Sadako feels a pain
which causes her to stumble. Doctors diagnose leukemia, a
direct result of the fall of the atomic bomb. Sadako is still
too young to understand why shes become affected by something
that happened several years ago but her mother tells her
"Radiation doesnt always show up straight away.
Thousand Cranes (small cast version)
When Kenji visits the ailing Sadako by her
bedside he offers her a folded crane as a gift and explains why.
Japanese legend has it that if a sick person makes a thousand paper
cranes then the gods will grant her wish of health again.
Inspired by Kenjis story, Sadako attempts to reach that number.
Told in just under forty-five minutes with no
intermission, director Dwayne Hartfords production presents its
story with grace, poise and theatrical precision. Holly
Windingstands wonderful looking scenic design is based on Noh,
a form of historical Japanese theatre which originates back as early
as the fourteenth century. Here we have a raised floor backed
by the traditional painted design of a pine tree all under a raised
roof. Stage right stands a sound station where actors produce
sound effects and play drums throughout, highlighting moments of
action and movement and underlining the drama.
Thousand Cranes (small cast version)
Its amazing that in such a short amount
of time, some important themes, issues and traditions are explored in
a manner that cant help but inspire young minds to want to
learn more. In addition to the more obvious themes of war, the
atomic bomb and radiation, there are also examples of respect for
traditions, discipline at home, love of family and pin of eventual
loss, not to mention that many, A Thousand Cranes may even be a
childs initial introduction to the fun of origami.
Like everything throughout the play, the moment
when the bomb drops is handled with taste, style and, in keeping with
the traditions of Noh Japanese theatre, even elegance.
Theres a flash of light followed by a boom of sound.
"The thunderbolt Sadakos father begins.
"It took our friends, it took our home. It took your grandmother.
Today a statue of Sadako stands in Japans
Hiroshima Peace Park. Once a year theres a holiday called
Obon Day. This is where the country remembers the spirits of
ancestors and close family members who have passed on. Each
year, on Obon Day, Japan plays tribute to the young girl and other
children who died from the radiation effects of the bomb by leaving
thousands of paper cranes by the statue. Childsplays A
Thousand cranes shows why.
is Our Cry - This is Our Prayer..."
Following the play, audiences are treated to
both an Origami family activity plus a brief Q&A session with the
cast. This not only gives audiences a chance to ask questions
regarding Sadako but also about theatre in general. At the
performance this reviewer attended a child asked Michelle a question
regarding D. Daniel Hollingsheads eye catching costume designs,
particularly Sadakos kimono. Michelle mentioned how long
it would normally take someone from Japan to properly attire
themselves of such a complicated outfit, then proceeded to unsnap
Hollingheads clever all-in-one design illustrating how
performers can effectively change costumes in an instant.
If excited comments overheard in the lobby
after the show are anything to go by, this single simple moment of
theatrical reveal was just as inspiring to some as the play
itself. Thank about it. How priceless is that?
-- David Appleford, Phoenix AZ
of Theatre for Children and Young People
ASSITEJ: Uniting theatres,
organizations and individuals throughout the world
Did you know that Childrens Theatre has
its own worldwide advocacy origination? Its called
ASSITEJ which stands for International Association of Theatre for
Children and Young People. They sponsor a global event entitled
The World Day of Theatre for Children and young people, an ASSITEJ
campaign, promoted and celebrated through the message Take a
Child to the Theatre Today.
"World Day campaign enables National
Centres, individual members, companies, arts organisations,
academics, teachers, artists, practitioners and others interested in
theatre for young audiences to connect with the idea of World Day and
make the case for childrens entitlement to theatre
and the arts. Individuals from across the world are invited to
promote the World Day messages and consider additional activity
large or small. Each year ASSITEJ Centres around the globe deliver
activities ranging from conferences, performances, workshops and
special media events, connected to #takeachildtothetheatre.
Learn more at ASSITEJ website: http://www.assitej-international.org/en/
Christmas Wish from Lewis Carroll
To All Child Readers of Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll, 1871
At Christmas-time a few grave words are not
quite out of place, I hope, even at the end of a book of nonsense -
and I want to take this opportunity of thanking the thousands of
children who have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, for the
kindly interest they have taken in my little dream-child.
Golfshore Playhouse, FL - Brandenburg
Elementary School, Irving, TX
The thought of the many English firesides
where happy faces have smiled her a welcome, and of the many English
children to whom she has brought an hour of (I trust) innocent
amusement, is one of the brightest and pleasantest thoughts of my
life. I have a host of young friends already, whose names and faces I
know - but I cannot help feeling as if, through "Alice's
Adventures" I had made friends with many other dear children,
whose faces I shall never see.
To all my little friends, known and unknown,
I wish with all my heart, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New
Year". May God bless you, dear children, and make each
Christmas-tide, as it comes round to you, more bright and beautiful
than the last - bright with the presence of that unseen Friend, who
once on earth blessed little children - and beautiful with memories
of a loving life, which has sought and found the truest kind of
happiness, the only kind that is really worth the having, the
happiness of making others happy too!
Your affectionate Friend,
December 25, 1871