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Intrepid Theater Company Closes Second Season with UGLY LIES THE BONE

Intrepid Theater Company Closes Second Season with UGLY LIES THE BONE

In its inaugural season, Innovocative Theatre earned high praise for its ambitious productions of theater in the public interest. Last summer, critics lauded Dark Vanilla Jungle, a psychological drama on adolescent neglect and forced prostitution, as "spectacular," before it landed among the top three shows at the Tampa International Fringe Festival. Broadway World called Proof, a Tony award-winning meditation on neurodiversity and higher math, "a win...a satisfying production of a great Pulitzer Prize-winning script." Then in their second season, Creative Loafing editor-in-chief David Warner acclaimed its courageous production of Keely and Du, an unblinking look at the American debate on abortion, as "a must" with "intensely involving, fully realized performances," and critic Peter Nason concluded, "With the powerful Keely and Du, they (Innovocative Theatre) have finally arrived."

The intrepid new company now concludes its second season with its most daunting work to date: Florida native Lindsey Ferrentino's Ugly Lies The Bone, an award-winning 2015 drama that doesn't turn away from the plight of the latest generation of American warriors. The New York Times called its world premiere "a bracing drama that confronts an achingly topical issue with hardheaded honesty and admirable compassion."

The play focuses on central character Jess, a fiercely self-sufficient young woman whose third tour of duty in Afghanistan ended when an improvised explosive device left her deeply injured with third-degree burns along her body and face. Now back at home, in a Florida coastal town reeling from the imminent end of the space shuttle program, Jess is gradually regaining her mobility as her body slowly heals. For the first time in her adult life, she is also dependent on others, including her well-meaning sister Kacie, and the doctors who are trying to manage her pain, and treat physical and emotional injuries including depression and post-traumatic stress.

At the start, Jess only sees dead-end people in dead-end jobs and relationships all around her, and musters dark humor as a defense. But as a virtual reality therapy (that actually exists) helps her construct a startling new world where she distances herself from pain and rebuilds her body, Jess can just begin to see something different on the horizon - the possibility of change, and hope.

"The Tampa Bay area has a huge number of active and retired military," says producing artistic director Staci Sabarsky. "Since everyone seems to have some connection to the military and appreciates their service, I think Ugly Lies The Bone will be very meaningful to our audiences."

With the country's current focus on the state of Veterans Affairs, and the increase in women warriors after the direct combat exclusion rule was rescinded in 2013, Jess represents a new generation of veterans facing new challenges that are coming into focus just now. Ferrentino's searching work helps us start to consider new approaches and solutions for them.

Marie-Claude Tremblay, whose "shattering performance" made Dark Vanilla Jungle "sharply unforgettable" (Creative Loafing) and whose work in Proof had Broadway World "raving from the top of proverbial mountains," returns to the Innovocative stage in the lead role as Jess. Dawn Truax, whose "layers of complexity" and "master class" acting (Creative Loafing) made Keely and Du "not to be missed" (Broadway World), plays Jess's mother.

After her recent work as Calpurnia in St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival's Julius Caesar, activist and actor Erin Foster plays Jess' sister, Kacie. Jason Hoolihan makes his Innovocative debut as Jess' long-ago ex-boyfriend, Stevie, and theater and voice actor Jacob Barrens plays Kacie's boyfriend, Kelvin.

As in previous productions, Innovocative Theater will partner with community organizations including the Wounded Warrior Foundation that are directly involved with regional veterans. The Daughters of the American Revolution will sponsor the August 11th performance as a benefit for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. The production will include four post-performance talkbacks sessions with insights from experts in the field, including Dr. Carrie Elk, founder and CEO of the Elk Institute for Psychological Health and Performance, and the Honorable Michael J. Scionti, the presiding judge for the Veterans Treatment Court of Hillsborough County.

Stageworks Theater, Tampa's longest-running professional theater company, will continue to host Innovocative's second/third season at its Channel District venue on Kennedy Boulevard.

Innovocative Theatre's third season kicks off with productions of Columbinus running January 11-20, 2019, and continues with The Hundred Dresses, August 1-11, 2019.

stageworkstheatre.org


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