The Crane Wife
Directed by Dan Stone
When I took over the Theatre program at LBCC part of the job was to produce an annual Theatre for Children production. Since 1974 LBCC has been producing theatre for local K-12 students. In viewing the list of past children's plays I noticed that there was not much in the way of diversity in play selection. With my intereste in Japanese culture and performance traditions I decided to produce a traditional Japanese folk story, The Crane Wife.
The Crane Wife tells the poignant story of a man who rescues a crane, his wife who weaves beautiful silk clothing to raise them out of poverty, and the greed of a man that results in the loss of the love he holds most dear.
Because of the nature of the origins of the story that I needed to utilize some Japanese performance styles. I have been building puppets for many years by this point and chose to build Bunraku styled puppets to represent a few characters in the play. Now, these were not traditional Bunraku puppets. Nor were the performers formally trained in Bunraku. When designing and choreographing these puppets I was looking to create a Bunraku feel rather than trying to fully replicate that tradition.
When discussing the "essence" of the play with the ensemble, we discovered that it was "silk" that sort of bound the world together. With that I gave the ensemble challenge in that we would only use a rather large piece of fabric and bamboo pole to create the world of the play. We also decided that the cranes found within the story would be giant origami cranes that would be used like puppets throughout the play. Throughout the play ensemble members created numerous origami cranes of various sizes. At the conclusion of the production the origami cranes were sent to the Hiroshima Peace Park in Japan. I have included a link to an article from a local newspaper on this page.
Scenic Design: Dan Stone
Lighting Design: Dan Stone
Costume Design: Tinamarie Ivey
Puppet Design: Dan Stone, Tinamarie Ivey