Award-winning actress Sherry Jo Ward will bring her solo, autobiographical play Stiff to the Studio Theatre at Stage West for three Tuesday evening performances October 17, 24, and 31. Stiff was the unanimous standout at the Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) in Dallas, and the great demand for more performances led Ward with Risk Theater Initiative to Stage West. Stiff also just received two DFW Critics Forum Awards, for Best New Play and Best Actress.
In 2015, after months of unusual symptoms Ward was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, a very rare neuromuscular disease. There are just over 300 people in the United States who are afflicted by it. Ward, who has been seen at Stage West in November (2011) and International Falls (2015) has worked to maintain an acting career in DFW. As this became more and more of a challenge, she ultimately decided to write a play for herself about her illness and her yearning to still act professionally, which incorporates her physical limitations and constant battle with random pain.
Also, the play is a comedy.
“There was no way I could tell the story without making it funny,” explains Ward. “My favorite way to deal with conflict is with humor, and those that know me best are able to laugh along with me even in my lowest moments. My hope is the play allows everyone in the audience to feel like they know me well enough to find humor through the pain.”