Asylum: The Undertaking

Courtesy of CaZo Dance, September 2016 Web Exclusive.

What if Carrie, Stephen King’s lonely, bullied, telekinetic teenager, decided to admit herself into an asylum littered with characters from other cult favorites, such as Nina (Black Swan), Joey (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3) and Nurse Ratchet (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)? That’s the incredibly original idea behind Asylum: The Undertaking, Bridgette Borzillo’s kinetically bizarre spin-off of CaZo Dance Company’s wildly successful dance show, Asylum ’66, which itself told the story of a reporter who was locked up in an asylum because she was suspected of being a lesbian.

"Mental illness is a real issue in our society,” Borzillo said about creating the psychological thriller told through the art of dance, “and I love to convey those topics to my audience in a tasteful, entertaining way. Take homosexuality for example. It’s deemed ‘the mental illness that went away’ because in the 1960s, society considered those who sexually preferred the same gender to be ill. By including homosexuality as a centerpiece, I stayed true to the era, but remained relevant to today’s world, conveying the understanding that everything isn’t necessarily so black and white.”

Since their inception, CaZo Dance has made it their mission to tell full-length stories that spur every emotion imaginable through the simple art of body language, dance and movement.

“You don’t need dialogue to tell a compelling story," Borzillo said. "The body can say so much with very little, and in its own way, can be much more powerful than words.”

Fear, humor, jealousy, lust, vengeance, survival — they all combine to create the most powerful dance show you’ll ever be a part of. In Asylum: The Undertaking, Sixteen different mental illnesses are depicted and combined to add a little fun to the crazy as the patients live their lives in the asylum.

Although the trigger for Asylum: The Undertaking revolves around the admittance of Carrie into the asylum, the heart of the show includes a love affair between the asylum’s staff and how that opens the flood gates for the inmates to seize power over their own destinies.

“The best part about creating a new version of Asylum is the chance to learn about some extremely rare mental disorders, then figure out how to integrate them together and convey them clearly through dance,” Borzillo said.

One of the characters, Bobby (pictured), has Windigo Psychosis, which is the craving of human flesh yet simultaneously having great fear of becoming a cannibal.

“When I read about it, I couldn’t stop thinking about how interesting it would be to transform that on stage,” she added.

Be warned: no one is safe when you enter the asylum.

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