Puppet Cabaret: Valentines Edition


Little Boy for National Theater Project

I was honored to present that Little Boy (2014)  in part at the National Theater Project Regional Convening Twin Cities on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at El Nuevo Rodeo. This event was presented by The New England Foundation For The Arts and Pangea World Theater. Little Boy was originally created as part of Pangea World […]


Every Other

Grain Belt Bottling Hosts Every Ohter by Aniccha Arts, an Article from CityPages on May 6, 2015. Here. While working with Molly for a future project, I realized that I failed to note on this major project with Aniccha Arts.  So now I have this on file. Pramila reminded me myself as a mover more […]


May Your World be… for Puppet Cabaret

Puppet Cabaret at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre Saturday, 10/6/18 With Bread and Puppet Theatre Post post — I was part of the cabaret doing an another experimental Butoh-Mask-Disco movement piece based on Molly Van Avery’s writing: May your world be less fucked up by the time you’re old. Mask […]


Throw Open The Heavy Curtain

August 9-12, 2018. Red Eye Theater. Presented by Sharon Picasso // Picasso Projects
An Interdisciplinary performance of movement, light installation, personal history and immersive sound. Collaborating Artists: Heidi Kalweit, Masanari Kawahara, Jesse Neumann-Peterson, Erin Thompson, and Sharon Picasso. Choreography/Direction/Design: Sharon Picasso


McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship

I am so honored and happy to announce that I have received Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship for 2018–2019 as I turn 50.

First of all, my sincere gratitude goes to Sandy Spieler and Molly Van Avery for writing beautiful letters for me, and for working closely with me to create many theater works. Also my gratitude goes (not in particular order) to In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Mask Theatre: for being my old home and continue supporting me; Pangea World Theater: Meena Natarajan and Dipankar Mukherjee for their vision of supporting POC artists, and giving space and time for my solo works and beyond; Theater Mu: continuous support for the Asian American Theater that now I am finally a part of; The Moving Company/Theatre de la Jeune, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Jungle Theater, Illusion Theater, Playwrights’ Center, Upstream Arts, Zaraawar Mistry/CIA/Dreamland Arts, Rick Shiomi, Jon Ferguson, Gadu Doushin, Pramila Vasudevan, and many others for working with me creating theaters and movements in the past 25 years. And the audience who come to witness all the creations throughout. I am so happy to call this community as my home.

With deep gratitude,
Masanari Kawahara


Speechless 2018

We have finished the amazing run of Speechless.  Thank you to those who made it to the show. I will miss this show. The 2018 run of the show was particularly memorable as I got to share the stage with Dominique, and every night was an adventure so to speak.
This rendition of Speechless featuring: Heidi Bakke, Masanari Kawahara, Nathan Keepers, Camille Chong Yuanya Horstmann and Dominique Serrand.


Isla Tuliro

April 2018. ISLA TULIRO by Marlina Gonzalez. Southern Theater, Minneapolis. Pangea World Theaer and Theatre del Pueblo present. ISLA TULIRO by Marlina GonzalezDirected by Meena Natarajan and Marlina Gonzalez. I made some shadow images and other objects for the show, and I was credited as Puppetmaster!


The Great Divide II

March 2018, Pillsbury House Theatre. The Great Divide II: Plays on the Politics of Truth by Christina M. Ham, Jessica Huang, Tim J. Lord, Stacey Rose and Andrew Rosendorf. Directed by Noel Raymond. Music by DJ Chamun. I made puppets for this 5 commissioned new 10-minute plays by local playwrights addressing the division in this country through the idea of “truth.” Very powerful and often funny.


make believe neighborhood

Feb. 2018. We completed a beautiful run of Make Believe Neighborhood. There were so many faces beaming with smile and sweetness were everywhere.  I loved every minutes of the show with a wonderful cast — Seth, Laurie, Angela and Martin’s music.  And big thank you and congratulations to our director Bart Buch for his vision and so much love to create this such needed show right now.

speechless at the lab theater

Speechless MOCO

Oct-Nov, 2017. A raw new creation of movement theatre by The Moving Company, featuring Heidi Bakke, Holo Lue Choy, Steven Epp, Masanari Kawahara, and Nathan Keepers. Directed by Dominique Serrand.


(Return of) The Story of Crow Boy 2017-2018

July, 2017 & Jan, 2018. We completed a short run of The Story of Crow Boy in July, 2017 at Avalon Theatre, and for Puppeteers of America Festival at Concordia College. The tour component of the schedule begins in January 2018.


Immigrant Journey Project

August 2017. Created by Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT), Hmong Elders Center, Shades of Yellow (SOY), Wilder, and Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE). Facilitated by Masanari Kawahara. Directed by Randy Reyes.


March Puppet Cabaret

March 2017. A cabaret of puppet shows by the Minnesota puppet community, with live music. Coordinated by Steve Ackerman. MC: Dhann Polnau. Including Masanari Kawahara w/ Celica: Butoh to Gojira 舞踏とゴジラ


Music Animated

February, 2017. Puppeteers Seth Eberle, Masanari Kawahara, Angela Olson, and Laurie Witzkowski joined the Dreamland Faces band onstage, creating a spectacle similar to a live music video or a musician accompanying a silent film. Directed by Bart Buch.


The Oldest Boy

Nov-Dec, 2016, Jungle Theater. A moving and delightful exploration of love and letting go by one of today’s most celebrated playwrights, Sarah Ruhl. Directed by Sarah Rasmussen. Featuring Christina Baldwin, Tsering Dorjee Bawa, Eric “Pogi” Sumangil, Masanari Kawahara, Randy Reyes, and Yeshi Samdup.

Laurie Carlos and the cast of Queen, photo by Bruce Silcox


Sept-Oct, 2016. Grandmothers hold memory and loose memory and lose memory; they have a broad understanding of love – a wide geography that one may get lost in. Co-written by Erik Ehn and Junauda Petrus. Directed by Alison Heimstead. Narrated by Laurie Carlos


The Children

Sept-Oct 2016. Written by Michael Elanow, directed by Noel Raymond. With Kate Guentzel, Kurt Kwan, Jim Lichtscheidl, Tracey Maloney, and Michelle O’Neill. Puppets designed/built by Masanari Kawahara.



June 2016. A public performance project about how systematic information gathering affects the body, our everyday lives, and our broader communities. Performed by 100 people across a quarter mile of public space from dusk till dawn at the 2016 Northern Spark Festival.


Conference of the Birds

April 2016. Conference of the Birds metaphorically maps out the journey of the human ego and the quest for truth. Based on a 12th-century Sufi poem by Farid Ud-Din Attar, the script was adapted by Meena Natarajan. Directed by Dipankar Mukherjee.


Odori-ba / dancing places

March, 2016. In ODORI-BA, Nenkin Butoh Dan (Masanari Kawahara, Dustin Maxwell and Gadu) created three simultaneous performances in three different locations inside the Southern Theater. Each performance was never repeated twice in the same space.

Masanari Kawahara in Crow Boy


Feb, 2016. The intriguing life story of Taro Yashima who wrestled with human brutality, racial discrimination, and the ravages of WWII to build work of social conscience, compassionate insight, poetic visual form, and ultimately – of joy. Created by Masanari Kawahara, Sandy Spieler, Steven Epp and Momoko Tanno.


Puppet Cabaret 2016

Jan, 2016. Masa performed his new experimental piece Bodhi/Butoh at In the Heart of the Beast Theatre with jam-packed house.  It was so much fun.  Thank you to Steve A. for bring us together and make this happen.


Nenkin Jam Vol.6: LIFE/Dismantled

December, 2015. Featured work of Nenkin Butoh Dan members, Dustin Maxwell and Masanari Kawahara. Through deconstructing the memories of their lives, they explore deeper meaning of “self” and beyond.


Sage Award for Nenkin Butoh Dan

Oct, 2015. Nenkin Butoh Dan, led by Gadu Doshin, won the 2015 Sage Award for Outstanding Dance Ensemble for the production of Fu.Ku.Shi.Ma. The show was a part of Right Here series curated by Off Leash Area.


Little Boy by Masanari Kawahara

Sept-Oct, 2014. Meet Little Boy, the world’s first talking (and farting) atom bomb. As this reluctant creation is brought to life, he contemplates his origin and impact. Created by Masanari Kawahara, who was born in Hiroshima.


Little Boy (work-in-progress)

Written and performed by Masanari Kawahara. Directed by Molly Van Avery. April 4 & 5, 2014 at Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis.

bodhi puppet by Masanari Kawahara

Bodhi Show

Feb, 2012. A solo puppet show with an anatomically correct sock-monkey.  It is an exploration of a sock-monkey in everyday situation such as birth, love, anger and death.



Sept-Oct, 2011. Masa was part of this amazing cast, including Noah Bremer of Live Action Set, of Pinocchio.  The show was directed by Jon Ferguson.

little shop of horrors at mu performing arts

Little Shop of Horrors by Mu Performing Arts

March-April, 2011. The Ritz Theater’s presentation of Mu Performing Arts production of Little Shop of Horrors. Puppet Design by Masanari Kawahara.