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Origami cranes big part of Linn-Benton production

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Cast member Jarae Lumbert of Albany has developed an emotional attachment to the hundreds of origami cranes used in Linn-Benton Community College’s production of “The Crane Wife.”

When the play wraps up after the 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, show the cranes will go to a Japanese peace park, a place Lumbert has visited.

To promote the play, the cast and others have folded more than 850 small origami cranes that hang in the Russell Tripp Theater and in the Takena Hall lobby. Four large paper cranes are props in the play.

Everyone involved hopes to have folded 1,000 paper cranes by the time the play concludes. For every 1,000 cranes sent to the Hiroshima Peace Park, a Japanese corporation donates $1,000 to charities that promote peace among nations.

“I went to the peace park when I was a high school exchange student from California,” said Lumbert, 20, a theater major. “It’s moving to see the park and all of the cranes, and it’s nice to be part of that now.”

Fascinated by the large origami cranes being used on stage, cast member Cory Warren, 29, of Albany checked the Internet to see if he could learn to fold them. While doing his research, he saw the word “Senbazuru,” the Japanese word for 1,000 cranes.

He said that according to Japanese legend, anyone making a Senbazuru will be granted one wish. Then he discovered that a Japanese girl suffering from radiation-caused leukemia following the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima wanted to make 1,000 cranes and then wish she would be cured.

The girl made 644 cranes before she died. Her classmates folded the other 354 and now the word Senbazuru has come to represent hope for peace around the world.

Warren, an English major, told director Dan Stone about the crane legend. It was Stone’s idea to decorate the building’s lobby for the production and then send the cranes to Japan.

Warren agreed and he put together paper-folding kits that he distributed to cast members.

Alyssa Rimer, 20, of Albany, another theater major, estimates she’s folded 75 cranes. “Each takes about a minute,” she said.

Emma Barry, 21, of Albany, who is majoring in theater, said she has folded a couple hundred.

The cast is certain it will have the 1,000 cranes ready by Saturday afternoon. Students then will request that the Diversity Achievement Center on campus provide a grant to pay mailing costs.

Stone estimates about 7,000 students from Linn and Benton counties will have attended the twice a week day-time play that tells the story of a man finding an injured crane and nursing it back to health.

Tickets for the Saturday matinee are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and students and $5 for children.

Cathy Ingalls is the city government reporter. She can be reached at or at 541-812-6094.


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