Masanari Kawahara 川原正也 (he/him/his) is a performer, educator and Butoh practitioner who incorporates puppetry, mask and movement into his work. His most recent puppetry work, for which he was a co-creator and performer, is The Story of Crow Boy (2016/2017/2018) for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) where he is a core associate artist. Other notable collaborative works with HOBT include Make Believe Neighborhood (2018), Queen (2016), A Path Home: A story of Thich Nhat Hanh (2009/2010) and Gotama: A Journey to the Buddha (2006).
Other recent stage works include ANAMNESIS (2021), Speechless (2017/2018) by The Moving Company as an actor; The Oldest Boy (2016) at Jungle Theater, in which he was a puppeteer as well as the designer and creator of the title character, which was a puppet. He was also the performer, writer, and designer of the solo performance piece Little Boy (2014) which was commissioned and developed by Pangea World Theater’s Alternate Vision series.
Since 2018, he has focused more on movement and Butoh-based work. His work 8’46” (movement for healing) with Sho Nikaido’s soundscape as part of Offerings: BareBones 2020 was recognized by Sheila Regan, 20 Who Met the Challenges in 2020 for StarTribune’s Artist of the Year edition.
Masanari is currently a resident teaching artist at Pillsbury House + Theatre and teaching artist for Upstream Arts working with preschoolers to elders. He is a member of the Butoh group Nenkin Butoh Dan, which received a 2015 Sage Award for outstanding dance ensemble for Fu.Ku.Shi.Ma. Masanari Kawahara is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellow 2018-2019 and 2010-2011.