Empire of the Son is the story of two generations of broadcasters, and the radio silence between them.
As father and son, Akira and Tetsuro shared the same profession as public radio broadcasters, for Japan and Canada respectively. Each of them had millions of listeners, but they never spoke with each other. When Akira’s health starts to falter, Tetsuro begins their last conversation. Based on a series of interviews, Empire of the Son combines live cinematography and miniatures to conjure entire worlds: from the ashes of Hiroshima to present-day Vancouver, marshalling the tiniest of objects to focus on life’s biggest questions.
This show is eligible for Tote Board Arts Grant subsidy.
Production credits: Empire of the Son was developed with the assistance of PTC at the 2014 Writers’ Colony, Vancouver.
Writer/Performer: Tetsuro Shigematsu
Original Direction: Richard Wolfe
Dramaturg: Heidi Taylor
Original Lighting Design: Gerald King
Lighting Director: Susan Miyagishima
Costume Design: Barbara Clayden
Sound Design/Composer: Steve Charles
Audio Dramaturg: Yvonne Gall
Stage Manager: Susan Miyagishima
Singapore Production Manager: Bahareh Shigematsu
For more than twenty years, Tetsuro Shigematsu has been telling stories across an array of media. A former writer for for CBC Television’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, 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, where he co-wrote and co-produced nearly a thousand hours of network programming. His most recent theatre work, Empire of the Son, sold out its run before it opened and was named the best show of 2015 by the Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Straight and has toured across Canada including the National Arts Centre.