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Wednesday January 11, 2017 in Books
Empire of the Son is an original one-hander that blurs the boundaries between artistic disciplines and continents. It is a unique theatrical hybrid that combines cinematography with the raw immediacy of a performance piece intimately connected to real life in real time. Through a series of audio interviews, playwright Tetsuro Shigetmatsu discovers vast worlds contained within his emotionally remote father – from the ashes of World War II and Hiroshima to swinging London in the 1960s and work in broadcasting at the BBC. As the playwright learns about how his own father was once a son, he realizes all the ways in which he himself needs to step up and become a better dad. This funny, poignant story of one immigrant family and their intergenerational conflicts reminds us
that no matter how far we journey out into the world to find ourselves – across decades and continents – we never stop being our parents’ children. It is the story of two generations of CBC broadcasters and the radio silence between them. The 2016 remount in Vancouver completely sold out, and Empire of the Son is currently touring across Canada.
Cast of 1 man
Read excerpts from Empire of the Son on Meta-Talon.
ISBN 13: 9781772011043 | ISBN 10: N/A
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 80 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Drama | Backlist
QUOTES OF NOTE
“Utterly engrossing and uniquely personal … Shigematsu’s one-man play thankfully defies typecasting even while it explores familiar issues of cultural difference, intergenerational relationship, and personal loss. … Despite the limitations of print, the theatrical production is lovingly reconstructed with family photographs and careful stage directions that make the collaborative nature of both the narrative and its theatrical telling apparent. … And the printed version does make it possible to reread Shigematsu’s extraordinarily powerful language, which is in turns wryly humorous, poetic, and gut-wrenching.”
“The charming West Coast hit … is about a first-generation Canadian’s fraught relationship with an immigrant parent – an artistic son coming to terms with his hard-shelled father. … While there are some clever visual elements to his show, it’s Shigematsu’s radio voice, larger than life, and the inclusion of recordings of his father’s, post-life, that lends Empire of the Son its unusual tone, slightly distanced and yet extremely intimate – and easy to relate to. … it will be hard for anyone to avoid shedding a couple of tears at this lovely, low-key stage memoir.”
—Globe & Mail
“Empire of the Son is exquisite. It’s also painstakingly honest … the storytelling is poetic, associative – and often funny. I can’t say enough good things about Empire of the Son … one of the best shows of the year.”
“Artistic son has ambivalent relationship with distant, stern immigrant father. It’s a common subject, but BC’s Tetsuro Shigematsu breathes new life into it in Empire of the Son.”
“The magic of the play engulfs us from the start and it surrounds us until his last words … Tetsuro Shigematsu gifts us with a piece of his life, allows us to reflect on our existence so far while showing an incredible strength. … Empire of the Son is definitely a must-see!”
“A powerful reflection on family and culture. It’s an emotion-filled piece …”
Nominated for six Jessie Richardson Awards in 2016: Significant Artistic Achievement, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role, Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Direction (Richard Wolfe), Outstanding Production of a Play, Significant Artistic Achievement, and Outstanding Original Script (Tetsuro Shigematsu)
About the ContributorsTetsuro Shigematsu
Tetsuro Shigematsu is a Canadian playwright, comedian, and radio broadcaster. Originally trained in the fine arts, he found a creative outlet writing for CBC Television’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Then, in 2004, he became the first person of colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada when he took over The Roundup on CBC Radio, for which he co-wrote and co-produced nearly a thousand hours of network programming.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.