Franny Davis (C ‘23) did not expect to enter the performing arts world until she spontaneously accompanied a friend to a Bloomers’ late–night event her freshman year. Now, as head writer of the musical and sketch comedy troupe dedicated towards creating a space for underrepresented genders in the field, Franny channels her creative writing expertise into crafting hit comedy productions. Through countless hours collaborating with her supportive (and witty) fellow writers, Franny truly found a community in Bloomers. And when she’s not in the writing room, she's surrounded by her friends in the warm aromas of WilCaf, brewing coffee and tea for caffeine–deprived Penn students. As a current part–time student, Franny is taking the time to pursue her passion projects and explore Philly beyond the bounds of campus.
Name: Franny Davis
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Major: English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Activities: Bloomers, Williams Café, Friars Senior Society, Kinoki Senior Society
What prompted you to get involved in Bloomers?
I just happened to be in the same hall as someone who was going to the late–night event that Bloomers held in the basement of Platt House. I didn't really see myself getting into anything in performing arts at all, but I saw the show and I thought it was really awesome. Then, I found out that there was a way to be involved without actually having to perform. So, I tried out for writing and stayed in it ever since.
Bloomers has been really special in [finding a community]. It was the first group that I joined and I made a lot of really close friends, really fast. Since my sophomore year, I've lived with all people in Bloomers. Whether in the writing room or outside, Bloomers is a really supportive community and a really funny community. There's a lot of different kinds of people who are able to find this one thing that they're all really passionate about. As a group, putting that time, energy, and care into something so special to us is really meaningful.
How do you believe your interest in creative writing and your work in Bloomers intersect?
Later in my creative writing studies, I started leaning more towards screenwriting, [which] started with learning how to write for a stage and for people talking. That definitely comes more naturally to me than writing a novel does, because I get really caught up in how to explain little details and I get too nit–picky about what I want everything to look like. I didn't really have any experience writing comedy until I wrote for Bloomers. The way that my voice changed when writing in Bloomers has also changed the way that I write in other facets.
Can you tell me about your involvement in the Senior Societies?
I joined Kinoki and Friars my junior spring. Kinoki is geared towards entertainment and media, so it's a lot of people with really similar interests. It's been nice to find a group that matches that niche on campus. I had a lot of friends in it from Bloomers, because a lot of people from Bloomers end up being interested in going into entertainment in the future. That also wasn't something I really thought about before Penn, but after meeting a lot of people who are also pursuing those similar goals and who have similar interests to me, I feel like it ended up feeling pretty natural.
Friars is definitely a much more random range of people. It's people from all across campus who I don't think I would have met if not for Friars. It's been awesome, because I now go to a ton of sports games, which I never went to before. I feel like I'm more familiar with all of these different pockets of campus that I didn't even know existed.
Why did you decide to work at WilCaf?
When I was a freshman, I thought WilCaf was the awesomest place on campus. When it finally opened up again last year I took a shot in the dark to see if they would accept me—and I got very lucky. I enjoy going to work, because it's really fun to work with people who you're also friends with. We all have relationships outside of work—we're a really tight–knit group. That's rare to find, especially at a job. It's a really unique experience and it's just so much fun. People who come to WilCaf love it so much and I feel like everyone can tell that we're all just having fun.
What’s it like balancing everything you do on campus?
The balance is hard. Luckily, WilCaf is an especially convenient job considering it's in the center of everywhere that I need to be. But, it got to be a lot. Especially when Bloomers is full on, we're working and writing for 15 hours a week minimum. That, with classes on top of it, was a lot of work. Now, I'm a part–time student and I’m only in one class. I feel like I have absolutely nothing to do because I’m so used to being busy all the time. Overall, even when everything is at its busiest, it still brings me joy in some way. So it does make it worth it.
Now that you’re a part–time student, what are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?
I've actually been reading again, not for school, which has been awesome. I've been exploring Philly more, because previously I [was] too preoccupied with what's going on in this 10–block radius. It's been nice to have more time to be in Philadelphia, considering I'll probably be moving out soon.
Since you’re a senior now, when you look back at your time at Penn, does any particular moment stand out?
The opening night of last semester’s Bloomers show was very special. The months leading up to the show are like the most nauseating months of your life and then it goes well. I remember Friars being there that night, and I remember my parents had flown in from California to be there that night. It was just very joyful. I feel like at Penn, there's not a lot of letting loose in that way or opportunities to pursue things that are just passion driven, so moments like that are always very special, where you just feel the payoff of work that you are proud to do.
What’s next for you after Penn?
I know I'm going to be moving to LA. I don't exactly know what that's going to entail. This summer I will be a camp counselor. But beyond that, I'm hoping to do something in entertainment and hopefully be able to keep writing.
Lightning Round Questions:
No–skip song? "This Feeling" by Alabama Shakes.
Favorite book? "Play It As It Lays" by Joan Didion.
Dream comedian to collaborate with? Phoebe Waller–Bridge.
Early bird or night owl? Early bird, unfortunately.
Where do you feel most at home at Penn? WilCaf.
Favorite spot for food near campus? The halal truck on 41st and Walnut.
There are two types of people at Penn … Those who know what WilCaf is and the ones that don’t.
And you are? I would hope I know what it is!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.