Check In To Zombie Joe’s Very Own Asylum

The Geek AuthorityZombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood has another strange, scary, engaging, euphoric, hypnotic and extremely eclectic performance art piece you must see — called “Manicomio.”

This show is about a place no one ever wants to go to, either mentally or physically — but once you‘re in (and you go in), this amazingly complex performance piece will take your own mind places in your own head you never thought you had. This one truly left me thinking after I left the theatre (and then wanting to see it again to verify my own conclusions) — it was chilling.

Manicomio (originally an Italian word from the 1500’s and later carried over to the Spanish community) is pronounced “[mah-ne-co’-me-o]” — which literally translated means, “asylum or hospital for the mentally ill.” That’s exactly where you are when you see this. You have a front row seat to what can only be described as an experience that I could never explain properly. You have to ‘experience’ it for yourself. Now do you want to meet the inmates at this ‘asylum?’

  • Jackie Lastra will amaze and totally creep you out with her performance with her doll she holds so dearly to herself. Her eyes, her voice and her cackle of a laugh will send chills up and down your spine! Jackie’s performance is completely done with conviction and realism that was truly scary for me.
  • Kevin Van Cott plays a rabbit/pig/bunny thing (his costume is self-interpreted), but is also a musical mystery as he provides sounds, music and drumming for the whole performance. He is also very funny and clever with his actions, the way he moves and words as he physically knows how to make the audience laugh. Kevin was a pure delight to watch.
  • Charlotte Bjornbak has a powerful and passionate section to herself where she speaks her native heritage tongue of Danish and transports the audience with her to a very cloudy place. It’s enchanting and a little haunting but her ideas and expressions seemed clear to me. Charlotte brought dark passion to her piece and was exciting to watch and listen too.
  • Jahel Corban Caldera performs his actions as a man with a dream/fear/nightmare of having a serious bug issue that literally (and figuratively) strips him down to the bare minimum. Jahel was so committed to the fear that it was more than a little haunting and very creepy to watch.
  • Jared Adams does an intense rhetoric of reason and reasoning by trying to rationalize life, logic and of course sanity (or insanity) — or both. Dressed in nothing but his colorful underwear and T, Jared gives a full-on performance that will make you think — or be slightly confused.
  • R. Benjamin Warren will give you a most memorable image of a ruler you’ll never forget. What he does with his ruler, you just have to see for yourself — but the audience always stayed away from his ‘ruler.’
  • Ramona Creel will entice you with her split consciousness/personality and the actual calendar date (of the time you see the show) — so when she literally goes into her four stages of reality, it will makes you never forget that date.
  • Sam Hill has some interesting facts to pass along to you and opens the performance with such vigor that, although his confusion and alertness is scattered in his delivery, Sam manages to sting the audience with some clever wit and creepy charm.
  • Joaquin De La Rua has a flair for the excitement and passion along with speaking Spanish regarding what sounded like the subject of love, desire and their passions that are mixed with confusion. (But I had no idea what was actually said because it truly was a section spoken entirely in Spanish!)
  • Anne Westcott takes her cigarette lighter and exposes herself in a fresh deep way allowing you into her fears and passions. This lighter is also the draw to all the other cast members and ethereal haunts for her piece to create a sort of chorus for her. This was very well staged.
  • Tyler Koster has identity issue and will shock you with his, shall we say, choice of outfits he chooses and why he chooses them. Tyler at first seemed strange and ‘normal’ to be thrown into this wild mix of minds, but he too has deep, deep issues that also unravel him as well!
  • Leif La Duke strums his musical guitar with a lot of passion and desire as he introduces the audience to a song he has written for his ‘love’, whether she wants it or not. It’s truly romantic in an almost sadistically mean way.

This amazing performance piece was conceived and directed by Sebastian Muñoz, who you can tell put a great amount of heart and soul into this project! I really did have to absorb this one, even while writing this review. Zombie Joe’s has tapped the inner mind and all the dark sides and aspect of what most nightmares are made in this production of Manicomio. It feels like an insane asylum and the performers give it a nice personal touch before and during the show. (You’ll have to experience that too for yourself!) There’s some audience interaction. There are candles. There’s humor. There’s music. There are adult themes and the possibility you might be a little confused and slightly scared. That’s what makes it such a truly memorable performance piece experience to watch. You just have to see it to believe it!

(review courtesy of The Geek Authority)

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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