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Shadow Puppetry

...and what it means to me.

I discovered the world of Shadow Puppetry through my mentor Janie Geiser, a multidisciplinary artist, while I was studying at California Institute of the Arts. Immediately after taking her class I began work on a project involving shadow puppetry to expose the life of an immigrant Elephant Family; this project was called 'Familia Elefante'.

I soon felt the impact of creating a show using shadows that I never once felt before as a stage actor. I discovered the magic that shadow puppetry holds in teleporting any audience to the world I create. Shadow puppetry is a mystical force that invites you to create the world with me and this simple task is priceless in the arena of theatre and activism. Shadow puppetry has created a space for all parties to collaborate and evolve. 


The shadow is not just an image that devours the stage with its magic. The shadow is a partner. The shadow is a being that exists with the other on the stage. The shadow is the audience and their wildest dreams. 

Jairo is the co-founder of Familia Elefante, which was created with collaborator Tanya Orellana

Current Productions

Red and Boiling


Lesbian porn! Just kidding -- for once we tell our own narrative. Red and Boiling is a whimsical drag and shadow puppet show created by Noga Yechieli Wind and Jairo Rivas about queer womyn and their lives beyond the act of coming out. Hasadick will take you through a world of striking shadow puppetry using comedy and lip sync. Hasadick’s journey explores the lives of queer womyn and non-binary individuals from different countries, religions, ethnicities, and ages. Come laugh, celebrate and rediscover your identity with us. Based on hours of real life interviews, every performance changes as new testimonies are shared verbatim. Red and Boiling is like soup, a pot of queer stories, a pinch of drag, a dash of lip sync, a few slices of comedy, and most importantly, salt.

Learn more at!

Production Highlights 

The List


"Red and Boiling marries its humor, seriousness and social responsibility so precisely that it allows the multiple voices to speak truth that will educate and entertain those of any gender identity..."

Broadway Baby


"The striking duo forms a comedic partnership that balances the light with the dark and the sad with the humorous. This show is anything but a drag."

Outspoken Arts
Pick of the Fringe 2018
Performance History 
REDCAT, Los Angeles CA. 2017
Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, Scotland 2018
Highways Performance Space, Los Angeles CA. 2019

Previous Productions

Haus of creep

Creep L.A. Returns this fall, presented by JUST FIX IT Productions, welcoming all into the dark-heart of Downtown with their fifth installment: Haus of Creep. Since 2015 Creep L.A. has welcomed over 20,000 Creeps through their doors. This year we will immerse guests in a bizarre and shocking world where reality and performance art blur together! 

On this production of Creep L.A. Jairo has the pleasure of bringing their Drag Persona; Rosay Ratcheté into the show while creating unique shadow sequences and shadow plays for select audience to find and experience. 

Inheriting Attica

Inheriting Attica, written by Tanya Orellana and co-directed by Jairo Rivas and Tanya Orellana; is examining the Attica Prison Riot, of upstate New York that occurred in 1971, and its modern day relations to prison conditions, the prison industrial complex and the effects of these systems within family dynamics. 

Performance History

New Works Festival, CalArts 2017

Prague Quadrennial, Czech Republic 2019

Canción De Quetzal

Canción De Quetzal, Written by Jairo Rivas and Co-directed by Tanya Orellana and Jairo Rivas; is a journey through a young man's father's diary and it's accounts of his forbidden love in the midsts of Guatemala's civil war. 

Familia Elefante

Familia Elefante, Written by Tanya Orellana and Co-directed by Jairo Rivas and Tanya Orellana; explores what happens to a family of elephants that flee their home in fear of the poachers that currently lay roam. It examines the years following immigrating to a new land where they struggle with assimilating in multiple ways. 
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