Virtual reality is often thought of as just another video game. The Penobscot Theatre Company in Bangor proved it to be anything but child's play their performances of "Ugly Lies the Bone." This drama ran from March 15th - April 1st as part of the Maine Science Festival held in Bangor the weekend of March 17th.
The play is set in the small, modern day fictional town of Titusville, Florida. It follows the Knox family. Jess Knox (Rachel Burttram) is a shell-shocked Afghanistan veteran who is using virtual reality as part of her therapy to overcome various physical and mental challenges. Her sister Kacie (Amy Roeder) and her boyfriend, Kelvin (Allen Adams) try to support Jess the best they can during this difficult time. Stevie (Brad LaBree), Jess' ex-boyfriend comes back into her life as she tries to make sense of her situation. Along with Jess' issues, the family must deal with their mother's (Johanna Karen Johannson) dementia.
The set, designed by Tricia Hobbs, reflected the play's theme by being centered around the Knox family's living room and the therapy clinic where most of the action takes place. Throughout the show, the actors have insightful conversations about life, beauty, and family. The contemporary setting and theme of the play are what make it relatable to the audience members who are currently living through the conflicts in the Middle East. This was the playwright's exact goal for this play.
"I'm interested in telling big political stories from the smallest details of everyday life. And with what's going on in my country right now...it seems to me important to find stories with unlikely female protagonists," playwright, Lindsey Ferrentino said.
Regardless of what one's personal beliefs are regarding the events this play was inspired by, "Ugly Lies the Bone" makes its audience think about the deeper issues of life in the world today. Considering the serious nature of the play, I would recommend it to mature audiences.
For more information or to purchase tickets, you may visit the Penobscot Theatre's website at penobscottheatre.org or call them at 207-942-3333.