Hope and friendship

25 January 2020

“It was like your eyes were dancing around too!” Seesaw’s junior reviewer describes the choreography in A Thousand Cranes.

Junior review: The Gemini Collective, A Thousand Cranes ·
Japanese Gardens, Perth Zoo, 24 January 2020 ·
Review by Saskia Haluszkiewicz , aged 9 ·

A Thousand Cranes is a stunning production of interpretive dance, words and music performed by five youth performers. I really loved it and so, it seemed, did the rest of the audience.

The story follows a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki (danced by Maddy Flapper), who was very young when the bomb dropped on her home, Hiroshima. Her Grandmother died in the blast, but Sadako survived another decade.

When she was 12, she wanted more than anything in the world to win the running race of Japan. Her friend Kenji (Calin Diamond) teased her about being as slow as a turtle – Sadako knew she would prove him wrong!

The next day, Sadako was rushed to hospital. At the hospital she discovered something that would change her life forever.

Kenji came to visit and told her an old wives tale: “If a sick person folds 1000 paper cranes, the gods will send them a wish and they will be cured.”

While asleep, Sadako had a dream. Her grandmother was standing in front of her. She took her to the land of the spirits and showed her how many people had already died from Hiroshima, including Granny herself.

Before she died, Sadako folded more than 1000 paper cranes. Her schoolmates, including Kenji, decided to make a monument for all the children who became sick or died in Hiroshima.

Today, it stands tall and proud, in the middle of Hiroshima. A figure stands, arms outstretched holding a paper crane and all around are the 1000 paper cranes of the tale. It is known as the Children’s Peace Monument in Japan.

This is a true story about Sadako, who died from leukemia as a result of the atomic bomb. It is also a story about hope and friendship. A dream of peace in the world that in some ways eventually came true.

This story appealed to me because I was moved. I felt empathy for the characters because the acting was very real. I felt like I was actually with them.

The music , composed by Jennifer Trijo, was another thing altogether. Sometimes it made you cry, other times it made you laugh. It complemented the dancing to make the audience feel like they were living in the moment too.

The dancing, choreographed by Sarah Williams, was traditional with a contemporary twist to invoke the paper crane of the story. The ballet included acrobatics, silk ropes and pure talent. It was like your eyes were dancing around too!

The costumes, designed by Anthony Butler, were simple yet sweet. There were kimonos, black Emperor wraps and even a mauve dancing outfit. Beautiful patterns, buttons and accessories really brought the costumes together.

I think the Japanese Garden at Perth Zoo was the perfect spot for the show to take place. The gardens are calming and pretty, fitting the story of A Thousand Cranes.

Overall, the show experience was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Flavoured with thought, this show was something worth seeing again. I would rate this show 4.5/5 stars and recommend it for ages 8+.

A Thousand Cranes continues 26 January 2020 with shows at 10am and 12 noon.

Pictured top: Maddy Flapper uses aerial silks to tell the story of Sadako Sasaki. Photo Sarah Williams.

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Junior Reviewer

At Seesaw we believe that shows designed for children should be reviewed by children. Our junior reviewers write an honest response, in their own words. Their contributions are a vital part of the arts playground.

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