Ugly Lies the Bone

Ugly Lies the Bone
Alliance Theatre
through October 9, 2016

Playwright Lindsey Ferrentino grew up on the Space Coast area of Florida, where she could watch space shuttles launch from the NASA station. She’s a gutsy playwright willing to take on difficult schemes while finding solace in such problems as in this opus.

It was Albert Einstein who opined, “Beauty is but skin deep, ugly lies the bone. Beauty dies and fades away, but ugly holds its own.” and in this play we met Jess (JulieJesneck) a female veteran who has returned from three tours of duty in Afghanistan where she endured terrible injuries from an encounter with an IED (improvised explosive device) which left her with a right arm in a sling, a deformation on the side of her head, and loss of use of her right foot so that she moved uneasily with a walker.

If I told you no more, you may decide this isn’t a very engaging story. But, under the direction of Jessica Holt, and with a really fine cast of five players, the story does move along in an acceptable manner. Jess is now home where she is with her sister Kacie (Wendy Melkonian) and she’s going through some strange video game therapy sessions trying to mentally move away from pain to find pleasure and relaxation. It may not be working that well, it seems.

She runs into an old boyfriend, Stevie (Lee Osorio) who is working at a gas station. It’s the only job he can find, now that the space station has closed down and the town isn’t what it was in the days of it’s glory. She has some feelings left for Stevie, but things aren’t what the once were and he’s moved on with his life, as well.

Kacie has a boyfriend, Kevin (Hugh Adams) who is a sort of weirdo. He comes off as a real dork, but as things develop we find that people are not always what they appear to be at first meeting. The voice-overs for the therapy sessions are done by Megan McFarland, who also comes on in the final scenes as Jess’ mom, who no longer lives at home and has dementia.

At first sight one sees a totally stark stage, and may think they are about to sit through a 105 minute monologue. But, the set designed by Alexander Woodward is really cool. Projected imagery works on the back screen, and the scenes change from home to gas station, to therapy center, and even up to the roof to view a launch, with great aplomb.

The show runs with no intermission and is on the Hertz Stage. And while Jess deals with her PTSD, it is not overwhelming the audience. But, you need to know what it is all about before opting to attend. More info at