Jessica Wood

“My mom was goofy and funny. She was the funny one out of her friend group. There was one story from the church ladies, my mom and her church friends, they all went to some fancy restaurant for a ladies night or whatever. And she had brought hillbilly teeth to order her food with, like a hillbilly accent with the teeth and stuff. She was always the funny one. A lot of her friends didn’t realize that she was struggling, and that she was hurting because she was just goofy, like she’s the goofy one. It just reinforces the fact that we just need to talk about stuff and just be human. And that’s okay, because social media is a lie, we always post the happy stuff, like oh look, I went to Disney, I’ve got this super amazing slice of pizza, when in reality it’s like, yeah, you’re at Disney World, but you’re dealing with a divorce or you’re dealing with a bipolar manic sibling, or your own personal stuff and sometimes it’s hard to navigate the world whenever all you see is the happiness. There are so many people, all of us are struggling, no one has a perfect life, no one has perfect anything. We all have things that we were dealing with and that’s okay. You know one of the big things that we push is, it’s okay to not be okay.”

“Some of the lessons I learned from my mom include being kind to others and rooting for the underdog, and making people laugh. And that to me is why I feel like with Backdoor Theater and the Improv Troupe specifically, that’s another way for me to honor her is to provide that service to our community and, you know, laughter is the best medicine. We can all be having a sh*tty day, but we read a funny meme, watch a funny tick tock, do something that makes us laugh, and it can change your outlook, it can change your day, especially like I was saying earlier, when you have no idea what someone’s going through.” 

“There was actually one improv show that a guy came to and he was late, so of course I called him out, I was like oh thanks, just being sarcastic again. He said, my kid went missing today, and I was like, whoa timeout what, and he’s like yeah they went missing. I was like, Do you need to be here, like do you need to be at home, he’s like oh no, we found them, it was like a pretty intense situation. And he was like yeah I’m glad that I came here to just get some relief after a really hard day and I was like, Okay. Geez, okay, you know, I felt bad for calling him out for being late. And then I realized, oh my god, your child was missing.”

“It’s okay, to not be okay.”

 “Theater is like another avenue for your emotions and another avenue to get invested in a story that you’ve never heard before, or a story that you have and you’ve loved, like Night Mother, you know, but not the last two minutes of Night Mother. I think everybody at that show especially was like, Oh, she’ll be fine, you know, her mom will talk her out of it, it’ll be okay. And then, I mean, no, because I would be backstage every night for the talkbacks that we did with Helen Farabee and NAMI, because that’s a heavy show because you have an expectation and a hope, like in the movies that like everything’s gonna be okay and the happy ending and not everything in theatre is a happy ending.”

-Jessica Wood

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