PROVO — The atomic bomb may have ended the Second World War, but the tragic effects did not end with it. For the people of Hiroshima, the bomb continues to fall as its effects take hold of the people, even years after the awful event. This was the message depicted in BYU’s production, A Thousand Cranes.
Set in Japan during the 1950’s, the play tells the story of Sadako, a young Japanese girl who lived through World War II.
Sadako narrates her own story from the time the atomic bomb was dropped to the time it took its toll on the young girl. Young and ambitious, Sadako is rearing to go places, until she is hospitalized with cancer tracing back to the bomb.
A friend brings her paper and tells her, “If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again.” Sadako begins the massive project, but is unable to finish folding all the cranes.
Telling the story of a young life shattered by the effects of war, it stands as a reminder that the bomb is still falling. I had not realized the far-reaching effect of something I considered to be so far in the past. This reminder left me emotional but hopeful for a future where we have learned from the past.
The acting was novice, as it was a first production for some of the cast. The show had a distinct modern art feel to it. Drums and chanting accompanied the scene changes, making me feel as if I were at a poetry reading instead of a play.
In the beginning I was confused, waiting for the lights to dim to signify a scene change. Instead the cast stayed on set and began chanting numbers. It took me a few minutes to catch onto the chanting, narration and all-around style of the play. Once I caught on, however, I could settle in and follow along.
This production is part of BYU’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts’ Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) initiative. The play is aimed at a younger audience, hoping to promote literacy, introduce diverse topics and encourage tolerance. Although a mere forty minutes long, it opens your eyes to tragedy of the Atomic Bomb, and easily achieves all of these goals.
While the acting left something to be desired, the message was clear: “This is our cry. This is our prayer- peace in the world.”
A Thousand Cranes plays through February 13, Tues-Fri 7 PM and Sat 2PM. Performances take place in the Nelke Theatre of the Harris Fine Arts Center, located just south of the Museum of Art on the BYU campus. Tickets range from $6-11. For more information call (801) 422-4322 or buy tickets online at BYUArts.com.