On Monday, July 1, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film department had the opportunity to host a special performance of Ugly Lies the Bone, directed by NYFA Acting for Film alum Coco de Bruycker. This special performance was followed by a Q&A with playwright Lindsey Ferrentino and actor Ralf Little, who were in attendance for the show.
Ugly Lies the Bone tells the story of Jess, a veteran returning from her third deployment in Afghanistan who was wounded in action. She has been assigned to a new video game therapy—an immersive virtual reality experience created to distract soldiers from their pain. However, ignoring her actual reality proves more difficult than it seems. The spotlight is on Jess as she navigates her new life, desperate to feel comfortable in her—literally—new skin.
Director Coco de Bruycker worked with the NYFA Acting for Film department to arrange the Q&A after connecting with Lindsey Ferrentino. “That we had the honor to play Ugly Lies the Bone for Lindsey Ferrentino is truly amazing, says de Bruycker. “Truthfulness is probably the biggest thing I take away from her … It impressed me how much time she actually spends on research and discovery as you go. And that’s also one of the reasons why I chose to do this play.”
Actor Luke Sweeney, who played Stevie, was inspired by the fact that Lindsey and Ralf came to the show and spoke afterwards. “I was just very grateful to have them in the audience,” says Sweeney. “They both have big things happening in their careers and personal lives right now and for them to take a night to come and see us perform was a gift … It also inspired me to know that even though there may be some quiet months, Lindsey and Ralf still work really hard to make sure they are making a living doing what they love. It gave me an immense amount of confidence starting off my career path to know that even the best actors and storytellers you meet are still navigating their way.”
Actress Isabelle Germain spoke of the difficulty of working on the play, telling NYFA, “Becoming Jess was one of the toughest challenges I’ve had as an actor … I absolutely love this play and all of the characters within it. Ugly Lies the Bone was a cathartic, healing experience.”
Ángel Gabriel, who played Kelvin, was excited to be a part of the production. “To have the playwright with us on Monday with one of the original cast members was surreal,” says Gabriel. “A truly mesmerizing night for all of us … The universe prizes you when it sees the hard work and determination that you put in. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
de Bruycker discussed the process of directing the play: “In rehearsals—and also during the shows—we discovered so many things together, both cast and crew as a team, and I’m utterly grateful for all those different angles …The show taught me also to trust the team, the process, and myself. Any creative work is unpredictable, sometimes painful, and Ugly Lies the Bone shows that pain doesn’t necessarily have to discourage you. It’s empowering. You can use anything on your way, both the highs and the lows.”
de Bruycker was thrilled to have been able to make the Q&A work, adding, “I’m so glad we could unite the playwright with our actors and great crew at New York Film Academy for a night. And also the audience in the tears and laughs they shared together every night we brought this story to life. Thank you.”