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From tsunami-ravaged Japan, to North Carolina, to Philadelphia, to you. (With a stop at Walden Pond somewhere along the way.) That’s the circuitous journey that has brought Pig Iron Theatre Company to Georgetown University this weekend. The Philadelphia-based troupe is known for what’s called “devised theater”—that is, building a show together as an ensemble, from scratch. But the creative process for the show they perform today was a bit different even by their nontraditional standards. Zero Cost House was conceived at PlayMakers Repertory Company, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010, PlayMakers received a $200,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They’re using the money not for themselves, but to give smaller companies a chance to come and create new work using UNC’s resources. Pig Iron director Dan Rothenberg had long wanted to collaborate with the Japanese playright Toshiki Okada, so the grant allowed him to fly Okada (with his translator) to Chapel Hill, where the ensemble spent three weeks developing a storyline. The result is a meditation on the places people call home, whether that be a cabin in the woods or a destroyed fishing village near Fukushima.
Tonight’s performances begin at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Gonda Theatre at Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, 3700 O St. NW. $10–$20. performingarts.georgetown.edu. (202) 687-ARTS.