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The Asian ApertureA Thousand Cranes
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, December 4, 2011    Share

Bored of movies and books, I decided to go see a play Saturday night. I drove up with a friend of mine to Ruth Eckerd Hall to see A Thousand Cranes. Written by Eleanor Coerr and adapted as a play by Kathryn Schultz Miller, A Thousand Cranes is based on a true story. Sadako Sasaki was a 2-year old girl when the atomic bomb exploded near her home in Hiroshima. She grew up and had a normal life and was into running. Sadako was very fast and was looking forward to an upcoming race when suddenly she was diagnosed with leukemia. The devastating effects of radiation caused many other children to suffer. However, Sadako had hope. She was told that if she could fold a thousand cranes from paper that her wish would be granted. She wanted to be well so she could compete.

The play is a one act play for four actors. During the performance, I noticed that two to three people would be acting while the fourth operated a machine, hidden behind taiko drums, for sound effects and music. With a minimalist set, the Shoji doors could be turned around to form walls, a bamboo grove, a table, and a big taiko drum, was all that was needed. This allowed for a greater emphasis on the actors. The set wasn’t very elaborate so it didn’t take anything away from the performance. Too many times in big budget plays the sets are impressive and you forget about the actors. To me this was a better way to do it. I was forced to pay attention to the actors. The actors really brought out the emotions in the audience. More so than in any recent Hollywood movie or anything on TV, the simple fact that you could see people performing, right in front of you, made a big difference. I was particularly impressed with Emily Beivo, a Florida native from Bradenton who played Sadako. She was really into her character and when she laughed you couldn’t help but laugh and when she cried I feel myself crying too. Emily showed a lot of talent and I’m sure that she will be in future productions. Alex Perez, who played Sadako’s childhood friend and running partner, also showed great talent. He demonstrated a great dramatic range as he playfully acted as a frog because Sadako teased him about looking like a frog to showing her how to fold a paper crane in a serious moment at the hospital. He was a very good friend to the dying Sadako because he was always cheerful and positive. In fact, everyone did a great job. Jack Holloway, another Florida native from Pensacola, played the father and Gi Young Sung, who grew up in St. Pete, played the mother. They only wanted their daughter to grow up happy and healthy. One of the best things about seeing a play, instead of going to the movies, is that you can greet the actors afterwards and they are more than happy to answer your questions.

After Sadako died, at 12, she still had hundreds of cranes to fold, and her friends helped to fold the rest until one thousand was reached. She was buried with those cranes. Today you can see a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The message of Sadako is the same message for Christmas and the theme of the play, which is “Peace on Earth.”

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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