Zero Cost House by Pig Iron Theatre Company

By FringeArts (other events)

19 Dates Through Sep 22, 2012

NEW RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes with intermission

Wednesday, Sept 12 ONLY: 7pm performance followed by post-show discussion moderated by Karen Shimakawa, Chair of Performance Studies, New York University.


“Sometimes Pig Iron plays with subtle acting states, looking for a way to sensitize audiences to moments of life which are almost invisible. That’s what Toshiki Okada does, he makes the invisible visible. And that’s why we’re drawn to him.” Dan Rothenberg, director of Zero Cost House

“One of the few groups successfully taking theater in new directions.” The New York Times


A dream of radical change, thinks Toshiki Okada, reading Walden from his home in Tokyo. A beautiful book, but only a dream. Then 3/11 happens—those numbers will, for a generation of Japanese people, stand in for the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima. In Tokyo, “unconfirmed” urban radiation levels are reported and milk is removed from supermarket shelves. In this atmosphere of deadly weirdness an architect who studies the homes of the homeless declares himself Prime Minister of Japan from his artist’s refuge in Kumamoto, far outside the city in Western Japan. For Toshiki, the Walden fantasy is becoming a necessity.
Bring Toshiki Okada’s sly, personal, and idiosyncratic writing together with Pig Iron’s raucous performance spirit, and you have Zero Cost House, a time- and space-bending autobiographical production about drastic relocations, rereading Walden, remaking government, and the freedom and heaviness of that moment when what’s impossible becomes concrete.


See Toshiki Okada’s Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech, also at the Live Arts Festival.

Pig Iron Fan? Check out THREE PLAYS: Book Launch Party  on Sept 17, come celebrate the publication of Pig Iron's first collection of plays


Direction Dan Rothenberg Playwright Toshiki Okada Translation Aya Ogawa Set Mimi Lien Lights Peter West Costumes Maiko Matsushima Dramaturg Jackie Sibblies Drury Performers Mary McCool, Shavon Norris, James Sugg, Alex Torra, Dito van Reigersberg


Pig Iron Theatre Company is one of America’s most inventive and successful physical theater companies. For Zero Cost House, company members traveled to Japan and spent weeks training in the unique movement style of the show’s author Toshiki Okada. Okada is a much heralded Japanese playwright-director, whose work Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech is also being shown at this year’s festival. Pig Iron is the first English-language company to premiere Okada’s work. Previous Live Arts shows include: Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2011), Cankerblossom (2010), Welcome To Yuba City (2009)


The creation of Zero Cost House was funded in part by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative; by the MAP Fund, a 
program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable
 Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN Program; by the Independence Foundation New Works Initiative; by the Asian Cultural Council; by the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art; and by the William Penn Foundation. Zero Cost House was developed with support from PlayMakers Repertory
 Company, Joseph Haj, producing artistic director.



All sales are final. Ticket exchanges are for Festival Members only. If you are interested in becoming a Festival member, call the Box Office at 215.413.1318.

E-Tickets: There are no tickets to pick-up. All tickets are sent to you as a link in an e-mail. Tickets are required at the door and need to be scanned before entering. Bring your ticket as a print out or go green and display the QR code on your smart device.

Late Seating: Do not be late. If you arrive after the start time, you are not guaranteed entry.

Mailing Address

140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.) Philadelphia, PA 19106