NIGHT SHIFT: The actress out and about in 2012. Below, with her costars in character.
For Camille Davis, the best thing about returning to the stage this month is not just to relish her latest creative challenge (portraying a prostitute in Patrick Brown's Ladies of the Night) but to reunite with longtime Jambiz colleagues like Glen Campbell and Courtney Wilson. "The feeling is fantastic," she tells me over the phone, with opening night several hours away. "I missed acting, and Glen would sometimes call me up to remind me of certain shows we'd done, and that made me miss theatre all the more."
During her lengthy hiatus, Davis made one of the most personal choices of her life: to become a mom and start a family of her own. Mission accomplished. Now the trick is to foster that essential balancing act between the lure of the stage and her newfound responsibilities. "It's hard to leave her," she says of raising a daughter, "but it's all part of my life now. I just have to work it out and find the right balance."
For the 20-something actress, whose most memorable and magnetic work elevated shows like Charlie's Angels, Diana and Midnight at Puss Creek, being a mother is the consummate learning experience. "Motherhood really takes you over, but I don't mind," she admits. "It's something that I am learning from a lot along the way."
Ladies of the Night, which positions Davis among a stellar quartet of fine and talented girls, aims to amuse patrons (in the age-old Jambiz tradition) with an entertaining tale of night-life hustle on the mean city streets. But below the surface, it's clear that it's really about putting a human face on the world's oldest known profession.
Sharee McDonald-Russell is Cherry, Sakina Deer (Honey), Keisha Patterson (Camille) and Davis plays Juicy, a troubled young woman with a past who is driven by survival instincts, a quality the actress has in common with the character. "She's really a product of a dysfunctional background, but she is a survivor and wants better for herself," Davis explains. "She knows she has a few faults but is determined to succeed."
As for the bigger picture, Davis believes audiences will come away with a more compassionate view of women who "sell" for a living. "It really explores the stigma attached to hookers, but in the end it shows that we are all ladies who often succumb to circumstances," she notes. "It's about love, relationships and even chaos. I think it's a dynamic show."