Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Very Sad Sadako

Jaqueline Dommisse snuck me in to the first performance of her show Sadako, since I could not get a media ticket and it was sold out! Sadako was written by Peter Hayes, directed by Jaqueline with a cast of amazing puppeteer/actors and designed by Ilke Louw.

I saw the original Sadako many moons ago at The Baxter Studio, and I was surprized at how much of it I remembered. It is the heart wrenching tale of Sadako, who eight or so years after the atom bombing of Hiroshima, gets ‘bomb sickness’, leukemia. Eina.

This production is newer, bigger, better and sadder. All the puppeteers are amazing; but special mention must be made of Roshina Ratnam (Sadako) and Mark Hoeben (who plays her dad and the doctor). They are transportingly wonderful, believable and Mark in particular is effortlessly sincere.

So, here’s what happened to me during Sadako. I could not manage the story of the sick little girl at all. I segued into imagining Natalie, in Boston, who is still undergoing treatment for her cancer, and I was a wreck, a total, wet, sniveling mess. I could hardly breathe. Which makes it hard to separate. But it is amazing when a piece of puppet theatre can take you there.

I do have some thoughts on the production though. It is very, very beautiful and special, but it is long, and because of the slightly old fashioned style, it is slow. This makes it hard for children (there were two wrigglies next to me and they were going nuts). The story has its own inevitable relentlessness and I think there need to be one or two fewer of the intensely poignant moments; there are one too many to be in tears about!

Some of my favourite things were the relationship between Sadako and her delightful best friend, their most cute school uniforms, the sick little boy in his teeny wheel chair, the thousand paper cranes, Sadako’s mom, and the teeny, teeny baby puppet version of the kid in the family.

Sad Sadako is precious, beautiful, and an emotional weep fest. Be prepared.



Death of a Colonialist


A fitting, moving end – Ladysmith Black Mambazo


  1. What a moving piece! Aside from the length, I think the beauty of the piece will intrigue children, over the age of ten. Sadako and Mrs. Sasaki are two strong and moving characters.

  2. Alison

    Hi Megan

    I always enjoy reading your blogs, particularly those relating to Grahamstown Festival. I loved Sadako last year, and reading the blog above, brought all those memories back so clearly. I experienced the same emotions and left there sobbing loudly and having to go straight back to my b & b to recover!
    I am sad to see that Sadako won’t be returning to the Festival this year as I am sure there were many people who heard about it but could not get tickets and were hoping it might be back this year!
    Do you know whether Sadako was performed anywhere else after last year’s Festival? What happens to those beautiful puppets and puppeteers? It was such an amazing show – surely after such hard work in creating such beautiful puppets and the incredible expertise of the puppeteers, the show must go on….somewhere?
    Sorry you won’t be at this year’s Festival…but sounds like you have very exciting times ahead!
    Best wishes.

  3. megan

    Hi Alison
    Sadako was performed at Out The Box last year and I know there are still plans for it to travel abroad. So the puppets are being very carefully stored I am sure.
    Thanks for your positive feedback on my blog posts. I am sure, after a year’s absence from the fest I will attack it with a few new ideas of my own in 2013.
    Are you in Cape Town?

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén