I am a Poet: Makoto Hirano

Makoto Hirano performing at a mic in a dark theater

Makoto Hirano is a Philadelphia-based choreographer, poet, and theatre artist. His award-winning, original performance projects have been presented nationally in numerous venues and festivals across the nation including Off-Broadway at the National Asian American Theatre Festival (NYC), DanceTruck (Atlanta, GA), Hamlin Park Theater (Chicago, IL), Ringling Museum (Sarasota, FL), and FringeArts (Philadelphia, PA). As a freelance collaborating performer, Hirano has originated over 20 roles, with highlights that include projects with Bill Irwin, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, and Thaddeus Phillips/Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental. Hirano is a co-founder of art-duo Gatto+Hirano and critically-acclaimed Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, where he is a co-producer, performer, administrator, and choreographer (2018 Barrymore-Award nomination for Outstanding Choreography/Movement for ¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!). A former U.S. Marine, Hirano earned his BFA in dance at Temple University.

What are you eating for comfort?

Here’s a secret. A couple weeks ago for the first time I made dashi (Japanese fish stock). My father is a chef, and so if he found out it took me 40+ years to finally make my own dashi, I would probably be in trouble. Japanese cuisine is my comfort food, and so a simple miso soup or ramen with dashi as the base really helps me to center.

What are you binge watching? re-watching?

If you would have asked me prior to this COVID period what do I think I would be watching during a pandemic? I’m certain I would’ve said something artsy like “dance films” or documentaries. But it turns out I actually turn to mindless/mind-numbing action flicks for some escape.

What was the last thing that made you smile or laugh?

My wife. There is no one that can make me laugh more than she can, and am happy to be locked in with her.

What is a poem you’d like to share with our readers?

A Bar Hop – Makoto Hirano

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

It’s okay to not be productive. It’s okay to be indoors all day. It’s okay to not have a big goal to accomplish or new language to learn during this period. It’s okay to not know how to be helpful or wish there was more to do. It’s okay to feel bad, laugh uncontrollably, and cry during the day. No one has been through this before so we’re all learning as we go. I know I am.