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Ugly Lies The Bone

From 34 member  reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking

About the show

Roundabout Underground, dedicated to producing new works by emerging playwrights, presents a drama about a traumatized US veteran home from Afghanistan who uses video game therapy to heal. More…

Newly discharged soldier Jess has finally returned to her Florida hometown. She brings with her not only vivid memories of her three tours in Afghanistan, but painful burns that have left her physically and emotionally scarred. Jess soon realizes that things at home have changed even more than she has. Through the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she builds a breathtaking new world where she can escape her pain. As Jess advances farther in the game, she begins to restore her relationships, her life and, slowly, herself. 'Ugly Lies the Bone' explores the idea that no matter how much life may ask us to endure, what truly matters is finding the strength to survive—and to heal.

Member Reviews (34)


Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intense, Absorbing, Uneven

See it if you want to see a strong performance by Mamie Gummer. The script is lacking, but the premise (helping vets reacclimate) is compelling.

Don't see it if you want a fully polished, convincing play. ULTB needs work, but it has potential...especially if it retains its leading woman.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Must see

See it if you like nuanced characters

Don't see it if you only like musicals

Great acting, Must see, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Excellent

See it if You enjoy powerful performances with a great story that moves at a great pace.

Don't see it if You don't like small theaters

Absorbing, Intelligent, Must see, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy seeing the works of up-and-coming writers.

Don't see it if you do not like being emotionally involved in a play.


See it if you want to see a compelling drama with a great set and strong, naturalistic acting.

Don't see it if you don't like intimate spaces. It's a very small black box theater.

Great acting, Intelligent, Moving, Riveting

See it if you enjoy dramas about interpersonal relationships.

Don't see it if you prefer theater with lighter themes.

Great acting, Timely, Realistic, Good dialogue, New work, needs work

See it if You enjoy supporting new work. The playwright has a good ear for dialogue and fresh take on topics (disabled returning Vet). Great cast.

Don't see it if You dislike naturalistic themes, are unsympathetic to disabled/veteran themes, prefer more finished or "lofty" works

Ambitious, Indulgent, Relevant, Slow, Original

See it if you're looking for an original story, enjoy heavier topics (ie veterans & identity), & like intimate theater settings.

Don't see it if you want light themes, likable characters, & fast paced story telling. The themes are a bit heavy handed as well.

Intense, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Moving

See it if you love theatre and want to see an intense and emotional performance from Mamie Gummer and the cast.

Don't see it if you'd rather not think or be moved and would rather see a "la la" piece.

Great acting, Intense, Original, Resonant, Romantic

See it if You love tour-de-force performances in intense roles

Don't see it if You are in the mood for a light show

Absorbing, Outstanding acting, Profound, Refreshing, Intense

See it if you want to see great acting. It's an absorbing story with profound themes. Emotional depiction of a wounded vet dealing with life back home

Don't see it if you don't like naturalistic acting, you don't like seeing someone in great physical pain. Realistic burn makeup makes you uncomfortable.

Ambitious, Great acting, Original

See it if You like shows about characters rarely seen on stage.

Don't see it if You're looking for a blockbuster.

Ambitious, Banal, Great acting, Disappointing, Edgy

See it if An unsentimental exploration of a soldier's chronic pain therapy will keep you enthralled through all the banal situations. Gummer delivers.

Don't see it if If an 80 minute play skimming a vast and complicated subject will leave you thinking less isn't more. Play needs to be properly visualized.

Ambitious, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like dramas about real-world issues.

Don't see it if You don't like war stories or being reminded of the issues that Afghan and Iraq War vets face when they come home.

Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Intelligent, Funny

See it if a play about harrowing injury, but keenly tuned in to gentle irony and human comedy as it examines how we heal together

Don't see it if you think war plays must be grim

Absorbing, Superb, Brilliant, Captivating, Emotional

See it if you like intense, brilliant shows with a great twist on modern technology and modern issues

Don't see it if you want to see classic theatre

Funny, Intense, Original, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are passionate about veterans' issues, love dysfunctional families, love Meryl Streep's offspring.

Don't see it if you are defensive about Florida or are squeamish about burns.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you look for a very complex character, well acted with enormous depth. Smart writing.

Don't see it if you are expecting an easy resolution to life's problems.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant, Riveting

See it if You are touched by veterans with disabilities, human compassion in times of crises and the family dynamic. Love brilliant acting.

Don't see it if You are squeamish about disfigurement, or you are subject to post traumatic stress disorder.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Intense

See it if You are interested in seeing a raw performance in a small setting.

Don't see it if You're afraid of seeing someone in emotional and physical pain.

Original, Relevant, Resonant, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a play about current issues and something that shows a play in a whole new way.

Don't see it if You don't like intimate plays, since it is in a black box.

Intense, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a thoughtful and heartfelt play about a veteran recovering from her injuries. Mamie Gumer is amazing in this.

Don't see it if you don't like serious dramas or don't want to think about the costs of war.

Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Watching Miss Gummer masterfully work through each scene as an injured war veteran is worth the penny in this thoughtful & touching new play

Don't see it if ULTB isn't the quickest moving play in New York- so if you're expecting rapid, witty, pace you'll be let down.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Good acting, Not quite enough, Respectable

See it if You'd enjoy a fine acting performance by Amy Gummer in a challenging role; you're interested in our female wounded warriors.

Don't see it if You want a fully seasoned story, rather than some very strong observations and good characters from a playwright with promise.

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like straight plays dealing with real issues

Don't see it if you're looking for a flashy musical.

October 13th, 2015
"The play confirms that Lindsey Ferrentino is a writer of dauntless conviction. This bracing drama, starring a superb Mamie Gummer, confronts an achingly topical issue with hardheaded honesty and admirable compassion...Despite the forthright depictions of Jess’s suffering and frustration, 'Ugly L...
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October 14th, 2015
"'Ugly Lies the Bone' is worthy but schematic...Patricia McGregor directs the strong ensemble with honesty and attention to detail...While 'Ugly Lies the Bone' addresses genuine contemporary issues, its reality is too streamlined and foursquare, too virtual."
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October 13th, 2015
"Everything that happens in the social scenes is banal compared to the therapy...The play drops so many levels it can hardly recover. That it keeps recovering anyway is mostly the result of the extraordinary performance of Mamie Gummer as Jess."
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October 13th, 2015
"Ferrentino's writing is deeply felt and often touching. But the play, running a brief 75 minutes, feels underdeveloped and strangely thin...The drama also suffers from the skimpy production values of the developmental theater...But the work does have truly affecting moments."
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