Drama. By Kathryn Schultz Miller.
Cast: 1m., 2w. (with doubling). Possible to expand to 2m., 3w., 2 m. or w. A Thousand Cranes presents the true and poignant story of Sadako Saski, who was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on the small city of Hiroshima, where she lived. Sadako, now 12 years old, is an excellent athlete who races daily with her friend Kenji to prepare for an important competition. However, one day while running, Sadako gets dizzy and falls. She is hospitalized, and it is discovered that she has "radiation sickness," or leukemia—an effect of the bombing that happened 10 years before, during which her grandmother was killed. Kenji arrives at the hospital, "I've figured out a way for you to get well," he says. He reminds her of the old story about the crane. If a sick person folds a thousand origami cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Sadako happily begins folding hundreds of beautiful, colorful paper cranes and calls to the spirit of her grandmother. "I have come to show you something," her grandmother says. As if in a dream, Sadako folds a giant crane which comes to life and flies them to the mountain of her ancestors. Once there, Sadako is honored to meet all the spirits of her heritage. Soon Sadako realizes she must stay with these comforting spirits. "But I haven't folded a thousand cranes yet," she protests. "It's better to leave them to others to finish," her grandmother assures her. Sadako died on October 25, 1955. Her friends and classmates folded 356 cranes to make a thousand. Sadako's friends then began to dream of building a monument to her and all the children who were killed by the atom bomb. In 1958 the statue was unveiled in Hiroshima Peace Park. Each year on August 6, the anniversary of the bombing, thousands of people bring paper cranes to adorn the statue. There is Sadako holding a golden crane in outstretched arms. Her wish is engraved on the base of the statue: "This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world." Area staging. Approximate running time: 40 minutes.