Warm your heart and Soul This Weekend with Empire of the Son

Empire of the Son, the latest production at the NAC, keeps up with the stellar theatrical offerings of artistic director Jillian Keily.  The show is real, a theatrical biography of the family of Tetsuro Shigematsu (former host of CBC Radio One’s The Roundup) who wrote and stars in the show.  As part of his doctoral program, he interviewed his dad, whose health was deteriorating, to get his stories and to capture his experiences as a child in WWII Japan, as a broadcaster in the UK and in Canada at the CBC.  However, he also set out to capture his father as a person, a man, husband and father.  We get glimpses of other members of his family, from his mother to his sisters and children.

Tetsuro is electrifying on stage.  His presence is magnetic and moving and his telling of his dad’s story as his dad’s health slowly disintegrated is touching, supremely intimate and many times hilarious through self-deprecating humour that is both very moving and funny.  He tells his stories with incredible humility, respect for his family, love and respect for his culture and with honesty.  He is absolutely captivating.

empireoftheson_raymond_shum-12While the focus is most definitely on the narrative, he backs up his story with interesting use of light, cameras, and magnifying small objects for visual effect.  Videos, audio and pictures also support his story and bring his family to life.  It all works flawlessly.

It is a one-man show and he does it all.   When it is finished, you are left wanting more.  It is a short play — not even 90 minutes.

Be sure to give yourself some extra time to get to the theatre because the entrances are all messed up because of the construction.

Empire of the Son runs until Saturday.  Don’t miss it because it is outstanding. www.nac.ca