by Keith Tomasek, April 3, 2022
After its successful debut in 2015, and subsequent sold-out cross Canada tour, the award-winning drama is back with a twist – “Empire of the Son [Reimagined]” is being presented as a live online show directly from Tetsuro Shigematsu’s home, where he recently lost a parent.
The intimate show touches upon essential questions of life that prompt the audience to re-examine their relationships with those they are closest to.
“Is there something you have always wanted to ask a loved one, but never had the courage to ask?”
“Is it possible to know your own dad beyond his role as a parent, but as a human being?”
Shigematsu’s resumé includes writing for “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” and being the first person of colour to host a daily national radio program in Canada.
“Empire of the Son” has been described by theatre critic, Colin Thomas, as “One of the best shows ever to come out of Vancouver. Ever.”
In recent years, the first edition of “Empire of the Son” played to more than 20,000 people in 18 cities and received rave reviews. But to Shigematsu, the genuine rewards came from how the play brought him closer to his father.
“In my whole life, I never had single conversation with my dad that went beyond, ‘pass the soy sauce.'” Shigematsu recalled. ” Though I vowed to be nothing like him, we ended up in the same profession. We were both public radio broadcasters (he worked for the BBC, I worked for the CBC). And even though we each enjoyed vast audiences, we never actually spoke with each other. That is until he began to die.
“I thought to myself, this man, my father is going to die soon, and I don’t know anything about him. Am I okay with that? And I realized to my surprise that I was. But now that I have children, I knew if they are going to be anything like me, there will come a day when they begin wondering about their identity, who they are, where they come from.
“They’d eventually start asking questions about their grandpa, and I didn’t want to have to say, ‘I don’t know.’ So for their sake I realized it was now or never.
“So I deployed the only object we ever shared in common, a radio microphone. I recorded 19 hours worth of audio, and during that time, I learned my father saw Marilyn Monroe sing Happy Birthday to JFK, and as a young boy he stood in the ashes of Hiroshima, witnessing the end of the world, and the birth of a new one.
“This is not just the story of one person, it is the story of our time.”
This funny, poignant story invites you to begin a conversation with that one person who feels so far away but may be sitting right next to you.
“Empire of the Son [Reimagined]” is designed to be interactive, inviting the viewer to participate and become part of the show.
Empire of the Son [Reimagined] – Streaming live from the creator’s home
Performed live online via Zoom
APRIL 7, 2022 Thursday 6PM PT/ 9PM ET
APRIL 8, 2022 Friday 9PM PT/ APRIL 9, 12AM ET
APRIL 9, 2022 4PM PT/ 7PM ET
Use promo code PERFORMERSPODCAST for an extra 10% off the ticket price.
General Admission: $25
VIP Admission: $37
VIP Super Fan Admission (With autographed book): $75
Reserve tickets today at: https://bit.ly/3tRxYM9
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