STACY DAVIDOWITZ #CAMPBREEDSWINNERS
May 13, 2016
MEET STACY DAVIDOWITZ, PLAYWRIGHT, SCREENWRITER, & AUTHOR
Q&A WITH TYLER HILL CAMP ALUM
What sparked your interest to become a writer?
There’s something about holing up with my laptop that makes for a wild Saturday night. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I come from a theatre background—even earned my MFA in Acting—and both writing and acting allow me to step into alien shoes and play. But as much as I love acting, I find writing to be extra fulfilling—my characters can say what they want to say, I can say what I want to say, and I can take enormous risks while eating cereal in bed. It’s awesome.
One of my earliest writing memories is at camp, staying back from Canteen to create camp-set horror stories to read to my bunkmates before bed. Maybe that’s where the spark originated—from the high that comes with sharing. It’s palm-sweaty scary to write something and then release it into the world, but it’s also the most gratifying part of the job.
Was it super easy and fun to write your latest books because they were about camp and you love camp?
Okay, let’s break this one down. Super easy? Nope. Writing books is hard! Before the camp series, I was exclusively writing plays and screenplays. I pretty much had never written prose. I think the last short story I wrote was in fifth grade about eating bagels at the beach.
The book took years to write—it transformed from eleven points of view to five to two. It went from first person to third person omniscient to close third person. It went from present to past tense. Truly an adventure—I learned huge amounts. Content-wise, however, SUPER EASY AND FUN. A lot of other stuff I write requires months of research. This series, it just flew out. There’s so much to delve into, I didn’t even touch Color War until the third book! And sidenote: Do you know what a dream it is to professionally write Color War SING songs?
How many years did you attend camp?
I pretty much transitioned out of diapers, went to camp, worked at camp, and even now I work at a summer program for high schoolers.
Did any of your counselors make a difference in your life?
Oh, for sure. My very first counselor—we were penpals for four years. One of my counselors set me up with my first boyfriend and made me feel infinitely cooler than I was. Another used to wake me up before reveille to go for runs. We’d talk about life and what makes us happy—she was really inspiring. In general, my counselors helped build my self-confidence when I was knocking it down. They made me appreciate being a kid, and they made me look forward to growing up.
Are you still friends with any of your camp friends?
Yup! I was the last of my age group to leave Tyler Hill Camp and so a lot of the camp friends I stay in touch with were my co-counselors, as well as the campers I watched grow from freshmen to CITs. My babies are now college grads—it’s insane.
Do any of them work in your field?
As far as I know, no one works in theatre or is a writer, but absolutely in the education field, which I’m also immersed in. Also, does the field of camp count? One of my camp friends runs Summer 365 and my family works in camping as well!
How often do you talk/see each other?
My family? Often. My camp friends? A lot of them I made as a counselor live in Canada, so we love each other through our screens. All my other camp friends I see once in a while, but when we do connect, it’s the best.
What did you learn at camp that has made a significant difference in your life?
I learned to take risks. To be my big ol’ weird self. To resolve issues through song. To lead. To listen. To sleep through noise. To clap at skunks. To hide visiting day candy. To laugh so hard you pee a little. To cry. To kiss. To compete. To open up. To raid. To love with all your heart. To roast the perfect marshmallow.
If you could add any activity to your camp, what would it be and why?
Literally everything that pops into my head exists or has existed at Tyler Hill. Pudding Wrestling? Check. Scuba Diving? Pretty sure that’s a check. Maybe Bungee Jumping? Actually, no. That sounds terrifying.
Anything you recall trying at camp for the first time that you would never have tried otherwise?
When I say “craziest camp memory,” what comes to mind?!
- Costumed as Cisco Kid, I “killed off” my brother who was costumed as the Hawk, as part of a Tyler Hill pre-Color War tradition. The choreography was Kung Fu inspired.
- Fostering an injured baby bat one of my bunkmates found in her shoe.
- Writing “Lice the Musical” to lift the spirits of my lice-ridden campers.
- Playing the role of Roxie Hart in Chicago at the ripe age of twelve.
- Hiking through the abandoned camp across the lake, also known as Camp Polio.
- As the General of White Land of Oz, I was decked in the best Dorothy costume, one I still whip out every three Halloweens.
- Singing “On my Own” six summers in a row for the Talent Show and that being totally acceptable.
If you had super powers, what would they be?
The power to get swarmed by cockapoo puppies, but for just five minutes. Then it’s back to work.