The answer was a resounding yes for Sherry Jo Ward, who had the benefit of having her one-woman show, Stiff, selected and supported by the 19th annual Festival of Independent Theatres at the Bath House Cultural Center in July.
Ward is having talks about taking this must-see show about her personal struggle with Stiff Person Syndrome, a progressive, neurological condition, to venues around Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond, she says. An acclaimed actress, she created Stiff for the reason that drives so many theater artists to this challenging format.
In a journey that’s taken her from taking pride in her strength and dexterity to being dependent on a walker, wheelchair and lots of pain medication, she had a story to tell about finding herself a resistant member of a new, physically challenged community. If she didn’t tell her story, who would? Yet, what were the chances that anyone outside her family and friends would be interested?
“I was terrified,” she says on the phone from her home in Fort Worth about anticipating opening night. “I was bawling.”
After the first of multiple standing ovations for her funny, insightful and wrenching show, impeccably directed by Marianne Galloway: “It was overwhelming and very satisfying. In the Bath House, you can see people. You can feel if things are bouncing off of of them or if they’re with you. I could just feel this sense of all of us being together.”
If you get the opportunity to see this show, GO.