Created in 2018

Pícaro: bitácora de un immigrante

By CarlosAlexis Cruz and Alicia Martinez-Alvarez
Inspired and loosely adapted from an original text by Mauricio Jimenez
Directed by Alicia Martinez-Alvarez
Original music by Shamou
Illusion elements by Joe Culpepper

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Lazarito, a 13-year old boy from Guatemala, its forced by the circumstances to leave his family, his home town. Seen as the only savior, a potential door for a better life, he is guided to embark in an adventure; the journey of immigration. What’s ahead? Crossing the Giant country of Mexico with the eyes set on the land of the free.

Trains, thieves, friends, food (or lack of), Priests, Nuns, Coyotes… Lazarito grows up, ‘trickstering’ around, finding his way through out this treacherous journey. Elements of Contemporary Circus Arts, physical comedy, Masks, Magic, music and the audience playing the role of accomplices will serve as main vocabulary for the re-telling of this classic tale.

In times of walls, travel bans, and family separations the questions posted in this piece are perhaps more timely than ever. It is, perhaps, a time in which the Trickster Tales, stories present in all cultures-stories of inventiveness and survival- could shed some light for a brighter and more equitable future.


Special thanks to The Princess Grace Foundation, the Theatre Communications Group Global Connections program, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for making the development of Pícaro a reality.


  • April 2019: Official world premiere, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte

  • July 2018: First formal presentation at the Fools Fury Festival, San Francisco, CA

  • March 24-April 7, 2018: Residency with a work-in-progress presentation at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC, NY

  • July 2017 (a first look): 25-works of in progress presentation for the Network of Ensemble Theatres at their annual symposium, followed by a formal presentation on the dramaturgical research for the project and a subsequent Q&A. NET Past/Forward Symposium, Seattle, WA – University of Washington



An 8-year-old boy’s journey to America is told through acrobatics, comedy and masks


EXCERPT: By one reckoning, CarlosAlexis Cruz has spent one week of preparation for every minute “Picaro” will be onstage this month at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. 

By another, he has needed nearly a third of his life to find the soul of this world premiere.

He has worked on the hour-long play almost since arriving in 2013 at UNC Charlotte, where he’s assistant professor of physical theatre. The seeds were planted long before, on his first extended trip to mainland America.

Arts to Watch 2018: CarlosAlexis Cruz Shatters the Fourth Wall


EXCERPT: Cruz also plans to take a semester-long sabbatical this spring to develop a solo show, Pícaro, a depiction of the journey of a Central American immigrant across Mexico to the United States. Cruz, who was awarded a 2017 Works in Progress Residency from the Princess Grace Foundation, will travel to Mexico to research the show. The grant will also fund a March residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City, where Cruz will develop and stage the show as a work in progress. "Pícaro is told from a physical theater and a clown theater perspective with masks and magic," Cruz says.

"The show is for the whole family," Cruz adds. "I hope to do a soft opening of the show in late May or early June at Children's Theater. After the show starts touring, we'll come back to Charlotte for a run at Children's Theater during their 2018-2019 season."

Drawing on Central and South American folklore — the archetypical figure of the opossum as a trickster is employed to illustrate the resilience of his protagonist — Cruz hopes to highlight the common humanity we all share with immigrants.

Reflecting a focus on community and diversity that he shares with Kesavan and Gonzalez, Cruz says the richness, resilience and courage of the immigrant's journey can serve as an example for everyone.

"[Immigration] is not going to stop. Gangs are killing people, so people need to leave their countries. The big question now is how do we as a society react to this phenomenon?"


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