We reimagined Toshiki Okada’s Zero Cost House for Zoom. And...we liked it better than the original! So we are bringing it back–for four performances only, September 18-20.
Helen Shaw of New York Magazine called it “a deeply moral play” which did its work on her over time: “I think about that show weekly. It haunts me.” New York placed the Zoom play on the “Highbrow/Brilliant” end of the magazine’s Approval Spectrum, citing Dan Rothenberg’s "elegant direction.”
Rothenberg on the backstory: “Back in 2010, Pig Iron commissioned Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada to create a new play with us. As we began to work on the piece, the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster reordered life in Japan, and Toshiki’s life as well. So Toshiki changed course–in life and in the script he was writing. He left Tokyo and moved west with his family to Kumamoto…’the Columbus, Ohio, of Japan.’ And this was at a time when radiation levels, and contamination of food sources, in Tokyo were fairly unknown. So, like now, there was a lot of confusion and disagreement about safety, about responsibility to your family, and to your city.”
Zero Cost House charts Toshiki’s physical and ethical journey through that time. And Toshiki’s writing–as deeply interior as Samuel Beckett’s, and with a flair for the super-casual that reminds you of Annie Baker–seems ideally suited to Zoom. Toshiki’s company in Japan 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 what we all are doing on Zoom these days.
The piece is 2 hours long with one 5 minute intermission. The 7 performers will be beaming in LIVE from their homes in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angles. We can guarantee there will be no line at the bathroom. We can’t guarantee the internet won’t be glitchy, on your end or ours–but, well, that’s life in 2020.