If someone walked up to you in the street and asked you to get on a stage in front of strangers and tell your story, what would you say?
Campfire aims to bring interesting people with unique stories and project their tales onto others with the hopes of creating something amazing. You can find their action at the St. Louis Public Library, where they combine improvisational skills with their pasts and purge their demons in the hope of connection.
Director and Creator of Campfire Steven Harowitz is the bold soul who organizes and runs this community organization. He brings the lonely souls together, gives them the tools to be brave, and has helped many people find something in themselves that may have stayed hidden if it weren't for the right navigator and coach.
I spoke with Steven about Campfire's endeavors and hopes on Friday. Here is what transpired.
Buffa: How did Campfire get started?
Harowitz: We did a test run during St. Louis design week during October of last year. We wanted to do something where we brought components of people's lives and connected the storyteller to the audience. We took a pause from it for a while afterwards. Some life stuff happened. I then wanted to play with the concept again and the St. Louis Public Library reached out to collaborate. We did it the way I'd always dreamed it would be.
Buffa: Rafe Williams is a comic on the rise in St. Louis and one of your coaches at Campfire. What makes him an asset to your team?
Harowitz: He's a stellar presence and a good person. You want people who are going to be great team members. He has a ton of experience and knows the technical skills it takes to be on stage. He's got a good blend of being a good human also what it takes to be on stage.
Buffa: What do you expect to gain from this long term?
Harowitz: I'm one of those people who is very future thinking but with this I have tried my hardest to turn that off and just enjoy it. Let it grow as it might. There's still things we can do to bring it more to life. Workshops and sharing it with the community. Honestly, I don't know and I kind of love that.
Buffa: I spoke with Bronwyn Ritchie and she told me Campfire was similar to theater because it was cathartic.
Harowitz: They are supposed to feel whatever the story wanted to make them feel. With each storyteller, we chose one main statement. For Bronwyn, it was how to build a home. I want the audience to find themselves through someone's narrative. Everybody takes it differently because we don't force a perspective. Everything has a falling action and there are no answers.