Pig Iron Theatre Company: Zero Cost House
Zero Cost House was initially conceived as a meditation by Toshiki Okada on how Henry David Thoreau’s Walden changed the playwright’s life. The Japanese tsunami of 2011 occurred while Okada was writing the play, which left him reflecting even more deeply on the disruptions that come from natural disasters and the uneasy compromises between radical idealism and contemporary living.
Known for its raucous performance spirit, Pig Iron Theatre Company is the first English-language company to premiere Okada’s work and is making its Clarice Smith Center debut with Zero Cost House.
Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, the company is dedicated to the creation of new and exuberant performance works that defy easy categorization. The company calls itself a “dance-clown-theatre ensemble” whose focus moves from character to space to contact with the audience. Individual pieces have been called “soundscape and spectacle,” “cabaret-ballet” and “avant-garde shadow puppet dessert-theatre.” As one company member put it, “We have a hard time sitting still.”
This project is partially supported by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by The Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and The Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.
Preview by The Gazette
Since its premiere in fall 2012, 'Zero Dark House' has been performed in New York, Pittsburgh, Tokyo and Philadelphia, the home of Pig Iron Theatre. While the basic outline of the play has stayed the same, the exchange between the crowd and actors can vary depending on the size of the space and the response of the audience.
— KIRSTY GROFF, The Gazette, April 3, 2014
Review by DC Metro Theater Arts
Zero Cost House is a complex and brilliant play, which really makes you think loud and hard about priorities and everyday living.
— MARIA KUHNS, The Gazette, April 5, 2014