Toshiki Okada at work. Photo courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company.
Pig Iron Theatre Company collaborated with Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada to create this new work, which made its world premiere at Philadelphia's 2012 FringeArts Festival with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Hailed as a provocateur in his home country, Okada is known for his hyper-casual writing and gestural, self-conscious choreography. Zero Cost House is Okada's first English-language play. The autobiographical piece includes a character named for the playwright and the text reflects on Okada's response to the danger of radiation in Japan, after the 2011 tsunami. "He has a hyper-colloquial way of writing dialogue—not quite cinematic but almost cinéma vérité," says Pig Iron co-artistic director and Zero Cost House cast member Dito van Reigersberg. "There are interruptions. People say little things that come into their heads. Okada drops in kernels of ideas as offhand comments that will turn into major themes."