Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Shutdown Streaming
Click Here for More Articles on Shutdown Streaming

Pig Iron's ZERO COST HOUSE (for Zoom) Begins Tonight

Article Pixel

Adapted and directed by Dan Rothenberg, the show runs through September 25.

Pig Iron's ZERO COST HOUSE (for Zoom) Begins Tonight

Pig Iron Theatre Company's production of Toshiki Okada's Zero Cost House (for Zoom), translated by Aya Ogawa, adapted and directed by Dan Rothenberg, begins tonight at 8pm (EDT), with performances continuing through September 25.

Tickets for this Zoom performance are $10 per person and $20 per household, to encourage "podiences," an attempt to partially recreate the experience of watching theater as intended, alongside other people. Running time is 2 hours. Purchase at More info at

Pig Iron Theatre Company was poised to begin its 25th year of creating original work when COVID hit the United States. The company is known for experiments with form, site-specific work, and remarkable, idiosyncratic performances by actors who co-create their scripts. Zero Cost House is the experimental outfit's first digital presentation. Known for reinventing themselves with each new production, the company is moving onto screens for the first time.

A semi-autobiographical text written for Pig Iron by acclaimed Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada, Zero Cost House follows a writer as he reflects on his younger self in Yokohama. An outsider obsessed with Thoreau's Walden and Bjork's Post, what begins as nostalgia for a simpler existence becomes a looping, interior adventure into political awakening, and a demand for change in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.

"The development of this play in 2011 was upended by disaster," says director and adapter Dan Rothenberg. "We had just begun to work with Toshiki when the tsunami struck. Toshiki felt he had to change course -- in his writing, in his life, in his way of being in the world. So what began as an adaptation of Walden became a political memoir and an indictment of the government's inaction during that crisis."

Zero Cost House originally premiered in September 2012 at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and was part of the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater in New York and then the Tokyo Performing Arts Market in 2013. The updated Zoom version premiered earlier this summer. Helen Shaw of New York Magazine called it "a deeply moral play... I think about that show weekly. It haunts me." New York Magazine placed it on the "Highbrow/Brilliant" end of the magazine's Approval Matrix, citing Dan Rothenberg's "elegant direction."

Zero Cost House (for Zoom) features Dito van Reigersberg (PITC Co-Founder, company member and better known as Martha Graham Cracker), Alex Torra (PITC Associate Artist, Team Sunshine), Mary McCool (New Paradise Laboratories, Play Company), frequent Pig Iron collaborators Maiko Matsushima and Saori Tsukada (Club Diamond at Public Theater, Sleep at BAM), as well as newcomers Will Brill (Broadway's Oklahoma!, Netflix's "The OA") and Aigner Mizzelle (BFA NYU, Tisch).

The production team includes Maiko Matsushima (Visual Design), Rucyl Frison (Sound Design), Adam Swez (Stage Manager), Jacob Gilbert (Sound Operator) and Alexandra Tatarsky (Dramaturgy).

Toshiki Okada is known for his hyper self-conscious and colloquial writing style. "We always wanted to get back to this play, and this moment of political awakening and forced isolation seemed like the ideal moment. Okada is a master cartographer of everyday worries and the yearning to break free of everyday life," says Rothenberg. "His company in Yokohama is called chelfitsch, a play on the English word 'selfish.' His characters always have one eye on themselves, which, when you think about it, is exactly what we are all doing now on Zoom."

Pig Iron began as a "dance-clown-theatre" ensemble in 1995, creating works of performance collage that regularly toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 25 years later, Pig Iron has emerged as a leader in the movement of alternative theater makers who seek to re-situate how audiences encounter performance. The company is now a platform for devised performance which scales up and down, moves from gallery to night club to proscenium theater, creating complete performance worlds with a shifting roster of remarkable actors, designers, and collaborators from beyond the world of theater.

"We are a company that looks toward possibilities where there seem to be insurmountable challenges," Pig Iron's Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director, Quinn Bauriedel says, "We have been innovating within the field for over two decades, and we are not going to stop now. We see this as a moment to grieve what we have lost, but also to seek new ways to connect with and awaken audiences, to help make sense of this predicament and to propose new forms for new times." For more info visit

This production was made possible with support from the Japan Foundation, New York.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You