Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kikiricaja Unlocks Your Imaginación: Guest Post by David López

I remember long summers and days after school as a kid when I would run outside to play. For me, playing was an exploration outside of my backyard walls through my own imagination. It was an adventure into the bushes only to enter into the selva, the gripping of a broom that suddenly transformed into a sword, or a hammock that was really a pirate ship on which I escaped countless attempts to throw me overboard and be eaten by vicious tiburones. I was invincible and there was no limit to what I could do…because I believed. The older I get, I realize that that creativity and imagination I had has essentially gone dormant and I have become more practical and my inner child locked up. But when you experience a moment so special that your imagination unlocks and you shrink down to that child-size you one more time, don’t let it get away. Grab it y déjate llevar.

    Kikiricaja logo

Such is the epiphany one gets with the play Kikiricaja: Una historia de payasos, written by Miguel Ángel Garrido Ramón and produced by Tijuana’s alternative company Inmigrantes Teatro. Recently, Kikiricaja completed its run as part of South Coast Repertory’s Studio SCR Series in Orange County, being the first all-Spanish production to be presented at the award-winning theater. Here is where I was fortunate enough to fall in love with this story, its characters and had a beautiful return to my niñez.

Directed by Raymundo Garduño, Kikiricaja is the story of friendship between two clowns, Bartolomeus y Comino, who live in boxes, but do not subject themselves to the restrictions or the definition of a box. As you are introduced to Bartolomeus, played by the talented Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, and Comino, portrayed by Ariadnalí de la Peña, you are immediately reminded of the comedic legends that have shaped the world through their disguises and payasadas. Greats like Cantinflas, Roberto Gómez Bolaños “Chespirito”, Lucille Ball, Cepillín, Charlie Chaplin, María Elena Velasco “La India María” have all paved the way, but herein is a cast of modern-day clowns that are classic in archetype but contemporary in how they touch your heart.
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo

The two payasos share a love-hate relationship, always in direct competition with one another, trying to outdo and undo what the other has accomplished. Their boxes are their homes where they keep their most prized possessions, the objects that are part of them. To the common eye these cajas are just rundown crates, but with the help of their imagination, these boxes become larger-than-life interpretations of identity and how Bartolomeus and Comino truly see themselves as more.

Kikiricaja takes you into the world of a circus and through the ebb and flow of a ship imagined by the play’s characters. Humor mixes with pathos through the masterful interpretations that Rodríguez and de la Peña leave on the stage. Their physicality and ease in transforming themselves is what makes Kikiricaja a play that astounds even in the subtleties. It is reminiscent of childhood yet surpasses any expectation of clowning because the language resonates with Spanish speakers and the sounds of the accordion and drum are characters of their own in this production.
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo
Loyalty and friendship is challenged when in enters El Músico. Played by Andrés Franco, El Músico is the symbol of the tests of greed and envy that too commonly come between us as a society. He represents the decisions we make to lower others in the effort to get ahead. Franco delivers another hilarious role as El Músico making Kikiricaja a trifecta for storytelling with corazón and imagination.

This historia de payasos takes turns that tug at the heartstrings, but ultimately teach that no matter who you are, you must always think outside the cockadoodle-box and never be afraid to believe.

On July 31st, Kikiricaja will celebrate its 150th performance at Cecut, Tijuana, Baja California. Inmigrantes Teatro and Kikiricaja will continue traveling with the production in the next few months to locations like Portland, Mexico City and Argentina, mentioned Garduño, but they would love to continue presenting the play wherever there is an audience and ultimately would love to present the work in Europe.
Performing arts manifested in works like Kikiricaja are vital in the continued dialogue about cross-border, cross-cultural, cross-generational storytelling. So the next time you’ve forgotten what it was like to laugh honestly, close your eyes, open your mind and let your imagination soar. You’ll experience something truly fantastomático!
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo

For more information on Kikiricaja, visit:
Or if you’d like to bring Kikiricaja to your theater space, contact

David López is a writer and award-winning librarian from Santa Ana, CA. His work has appeared in the Orange County Register, Connotation Press, Brooklyn & Boyle, and his poetry will appear in a forthcoming anthology by Kórima Press.

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