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SU Drama and Syracuse Stage present public performance of Children's Tour production

October 13, 2008

Patrick Finlon
(315) 443-2636

Patrick Finlon

Each fall, the Department of Drama in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and Syracuse Stage present the Bank of America Children’s Tour, a high-energy, interactive and culturally diverse theatrical production for elementary school audiences. Touring schools this year, now through Dec. 11, is “A Thousand Cranes” by Kathryn Schultz Miller.

SU Drama and Syracuse Stage will host a public performance of the production on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m. in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama complex, 820 E. Genesee St. The show is recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased now by calling (315) 443-3275.

“A Thousand Cranes” is the moving, true story about the effects of war on the life of a 12-year-old Japanese girl, Sadako, and how through her spirit of hope and determination she became an inspiration for generations to come. Cast in the production are students from the Department of Drama: Sophomore Jamie Olen portrays Sadako, sophomore Nowani Rattray is Oba Chan/Mother, and sophomore John Quertermous appears as Kenji/Father.

“This is a gentle treatment. The effects of war are spoken, but it is more about our positive natures, community and one girl’s strength to find something good. It’s about a community coming together, and a girl connecting with her past and moving forward,” says Lauren Unbekant, director of education at Syracuse Stage, who directed the production. “It’s also a very physical presentation, incorporating Japanese theatre styles, Kabuki, Japanese Noh theatre, hip-hop and contemporary Japanese movement performed in striking visual terms.”

To heighten the sense of pageantry, artist Gabriel Q has designed human-size puppets for the actors. Though Q is perhaps best known for his collection of masks in the tradition of Venetian paper-mache technique, any Central New Yorker who has attended the Sterling Renaissance Festival has most likely met him as the “baby in a stilt-walking high chair.” For more information, visit http://www.gabrielq.com.

“A Thousand Cranes”is currently touring in schools throughout upstate New York through Dec. 11. Each performance is fully staged with scenery, costumes and sound. Performances include a talkback with the actors and a study guide for further classroom exploration. For more information, contact Unbekant at 443-1150 or Adam Zurbruegg, education outreach coordinator, at 442-7755. The Children’s Tour is sponsored by Bank of America and the Lockheed Martin Employees Federated Fund.

VPA is the creative center of Syracuse University. The college comprises five areas: the School of Art and Design; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; and the Department of Transmedia. Together, students, faculty and staff play a vital role in the academic and cultural life of the University and Syracuse communities. Learn more about the college at http://vpa.syr.edu.

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