A Conversation With Raleigh Actress Jess Barbour
You may recognize some familiar spots in Jon Lance Bacon’s new movie Oh Crappy Day!, a romantic comedy following an aspiring filmmaker looking for love while managing his obsessive compulsive disorder. Filming locations included the North Carolina History Museum, Café Luna, and Hayes Barton Café, among others.
The movie was filmed entirely in Raleigh and stars Jordan Estes as the OCD-stricken Jared. Raleigh native Jess Barbour plays Katie, a librarian with quirks of her own. The two reprised their roles for this feature length film after starring in the 2016 short of the same name. Oh Crappy Day! won Best Feature Film at the Raleigh Film and Art Festival this year.
I recently talked with Barbour about the movie and Raleigh’s theater scene.
You’ve worked on a number of projects, from shorts to full-length movies, over the last several years. What was it like working through (or around!) the pandemic?
When everything shut down, I decided it was a good time to become a student again. Stay fresh. Many acting studios all over the US were inviting Casting Directors and other artists to teach in this new virtual world. I spent a lot of time on Zoom taking classes and observing others as they worked. In a way, the pandemic offered us an opportunity to study with people we never would have been able to before.
Earlier this year, I shot on a film in Tennessee when things were first starting to pick back up. It was such a wonderful feeling to be back on set after a year of virtual everything. The biggest noted change was that there were new safety protocols in place and lots of testing to keep everyone safe and things moving right along.
According to IMDB you were born here — what has it been like for you to watch the city change and grow?
It’s true, I was born and raised in Raleigh and things have definitely changed. My old elementary school [Effie Green Elementary] was being torn down shortly after I graduated from a newly built high school [Wakefield High School]. My dad used to work where the Convention Center now sits. But those are just a few physical changes. One exciting thing I’ve noticed is that the number of theater companies has multiplied, and the community is pretty close knit. Now that theaters are able to start producing again, I’m finding my weekends pretty busy.
Where do you see the theatre scene in Raleigh in the next few years?
Recently, I went to see the final dress rehearsal of a show and my heart was full seeing so many leaders in the theater community under one roof, supporting the production. We’ve had over a year of innovation with what we can do in the virtual space and important diversity and inclusion conversations about what theatre should be. My hope is that, as theater continues to gather steam, we put into practice what we’ve learned and continue to push the boundaries of what the theater experience looks and feels like, making our audiences’ options robust and varied.
What’s up next for you?
Currently, I am busy choreographing for Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella that goes up in December. The holiday movie I shot in Tennessee, Most Wonderful Time, is currently in post production. More and more projects are coming to North Carolina, so I’m excited to see what 2022 brings!
Barbour also mentioned some favorite date-night spots which included Whiskey Kitchen, Chahouse, and Salt and Lime. More often, between her schedule and beau Ryan LaDue’s schedule, they find themselves on breakfast dates at First Watch.
Oh Crappy Day! is now available on Amazon Prime. You can watch the trailer here: