resistance loves company, part 1

for Episode 11 of New Dramatists’ In-Depth podcast series, i gathered around a table with fellow playwrights Antoinette Nwandu, Cori Thomas, Cate Yu, Liz Duffy Adams, and Gus Schulenburg to discuss responses to the new regime, and strategies for navigating the terrain; shout out to Connie Hall for the editing magic, among many other things.

link here:

New Dramatists induction

14292265_10210257420782742_7167830909610776904_n On Monday, I had the crazy honor of joining six incredible (& superhuman) playwrights, Ken Urban, Mfoniso Udofia, Brian Watkins, Aurin Squire, Kate Cortesi, and Lloyd Suh, in being inducted into New Dramatists.

I’m overwhelmed and thrilled — and deeply grateful — to be joining such a stellar group of writers, and to be joining the incredible New Dramatists family.


Lark announces Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows

The Lark announces Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows:


The Lark named five New York City-based playwrights as Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellows for the 2016-17 season. The group spans a wide range of backgrounds and professional experiences and will meet regularly throughout the year to develop new plays.

The Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop, now in its 18th year, is one of The Lark’s longest-running programs, bringing emerging and established playwrights together to explore new material without commercial pressures. Fellows meet twice a month to share new pages from plays-in-progress with a community of actors, directors, designers, writers and special guests.

The five fellows are Keith Josef Adkins, Founding Artistic Director of The New Black Fest and author of The People Before the Park, produced by Premiere Stages (2015); Sam Chanse, author of Fruiting Bodies, featured on The Kilroys’ List (2015); Rehana Lew Mirza, recipient of a 2016 Lilly Award (the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Play” Commission) and author of Soldier X, produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company (2015); Jen Silverman, author of The Moors, produced by Yale Repertory Theatre (2016), and the 2016-17 PoNY Fellow at The Lark (in partnership with Playwrights of New York); Anna Ziegler, recipient of London’s 2016 WhatsOnStage Best New Play award for her play Photograph 51 (starring Nicole Kidman), and author of Boy (2016 John Gassner Award nominee).

“This program is designed not only to foster new work, but also to engage in urgent conversations with writers of varying perspectives,” said Lloyd Suh, The Lark’s Director of Artistic Programs. “We’re thrilled to have such a dynamic and exciting company of fellows, each with such big ideas and visions. These are playwrights who are grappling with the most important issues of our time, with empathy and humor and rigor. We’re so thrilled to have them do that work here and with each other over the year.”

The program is led by esteemed dramatist and program creator Arthur Kopitand a group of leading American playwrights that include David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, Terrence McNally, Theresa Rebeck, José Rivera, Lynn Nottageand Doug Wright, among others. Fellows are selected annually by a committee that solicits nominations from leading dramatists and artistic directors.  Program alumni include José Rivera (Marisol, School of the Americas), Thomas Bradshaw (Burning, Mary), Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale, The Healing), Katori Hall (The Mountaintop, Hurt Village), Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew), Lisa Kron (Fun Home, The Verizon Play), Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj), and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage(Ruined), whose acclaimed play, Sweat, playing at The Public Theater this fall, was developed during her time as a Fellow during the 2013-14 season.

“Playwrights’ Workshop was something I very much looked forward to every month,” said Martyna Majok (Ironbound), a participant in the 2015-16 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop. “It is a place that supports risk and encourages bravery, where writing could be grand and wild and unsure. It is a genuine community of fellow strivers and seekers, who lovingly and consistently held you accountable to your own goals and dreams.”

This program has been made possible with leadership support from longtime Lark trustee Rita Goldberg.  Additional support is provided by the Axe-Houghton Foundation and the John Golden Fund.

New Dramatists announces seven new playwrights

ND2023New Dramatists announced their new class of incoming resident playwrights; I’m thrilled
and hugely honored to be joining the brilliant Lloyd Suh, Mfoniso Udofia, Ken Urban, Aurin Squire, Brian Watkins, and Kate Cortesi in embarking on seven years as company members at the remarkable and beloved playwriterly home that is ND.

INK’D Festival this week

291447Playwrights Realm’s Ink’d Fesival is this week, May 17-20th.

We started rehearsals last week for THE OTHER INSTINCT with director Sarah Krohn and a remarkable cast: Nilanjana Bose, Mahira Kakkar, Marjan Neshat, Farah Bala, Donetta Lavinia Grays, Rita Wolf, Bhavesh Patel, Tiffany Villarin, and Kelley O’Donnell; we’ll have the full crew today, and then the reading is Thursday.

This process included working with set designer Jason Simms, who came up with some illuminating concepts & sketches; I’ll be sharing those later.

The other plays in the festival are outstanding, and all very different, by playwrights & fellow Playwrights Realm fellows Lauren Feldman, Jonathan Payne, and David Zax — check them all out if you can.

Link for the festival is here:

R&D Findings Series

13151702_10154111459563389_4438243231124284413_nThe Finding Series kicks off this afternoon with a reading/presentation of what you are now, an EST/Sloan Commission that I’ve been developing during my time with the Civilians R&D Group. Director Colette Robert and I teamed up for this presentation, and had an insanely awesome crew for a day of working on very rough & raw material — Sophia Skiles, Ron Domingo, Eugene Young, Sasha Diamond, Alex Herrald, and Tiffany Villarin.

Thanks to the folks who came out to join us, as well.


Lobsters Live Forever workshop 3/28 & 3/29

LLF-overturesBob Kelly & I are continuing to develop our one-act musical, Lobsters Live Forever, at a workshop through Gallery Players’ Overtures program, in partnership with Leviathan Lab.

Originally commissioned by Leviathan Lab for their Ghost Stories Project, LLF is an adaptation of an Inuit folktale, and also incorporates elements of the hungry ghost of Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

The workshop runs March 23-29, with two public readings on March 28 & 29th:

Lobsters Live Forever
Book and Lyrics by Sam Chanse
Music by Bob Kelly
Presented by Gallery Players in partnership with the Leviathan Lab

Monday & Tuesday, March 28 & 29th, 2016
The Gallery Players, 199 14th St, Brooklyn, New York 11215
$10 (Free with AEA card)

Director – Robert Lee
Music Director – Daniel Sefik
Musical Theatre Advisor – Robert Lee
Dramaturg – Donatella Galella
Producers – Flordelino Lagundino, Alyssa Simmons

Angel Desai* – Thelma
Danyel Fulton* – Skeleton Woman
*Members of Actors Equity

Monday, March 28th at 7pm
Tuesday, March 29th at 7pm
note: piece is approximately 50 minutes long

Once upon a contemporary time, a lobster-chasing excursion on a haunted bay brings about a collision: two women confront the ambivalence and necessity of contact, and the pains and pleasures of being alive. Inspired by an Inuit folk tale and Chinese hungry ghost stories, Lobsters Live Forever delves into the impossibilities of perfection and the vulnerabilities of human connection.

Lobsters Live Forever is presented by OVERTURES, A New Musical Reading Series
Produced by Barrie Gelles and The Gallery Players

For more information about the OVERTURES series, please visit:


totally my jam: flops, failures, & fiascos 2/23 with the Civilians

flopsthe Civilians (whose R&D group I’m currently a member of) is throwing a cabaret next Tuesday, 2/23, around the theme of Flops, Failures, & Fiascos—a subject which, as the post heading already says, is totally my jam.

(some years ago, i wrote a play called the Failures Series; i also hosted a totally unrelated radio show called “The Failure Series”; and i once wrote & performed a solo show called about that whole dying thing (the failure series), which incorporated a fictionalized version of the nonfictional radio show, “the failure series.” (i eventually removed the parenthetical part of that title, ’cause, you know, judgment.) i just can’t get enough of failure as a rich and generative theme!)

my songwriter-actor-writer friend, Chris Larkin (of Carry Hatchet fame) and i collaborated on a song that will be part of the program.

but overall, i’m looking forward to the whole evening, and immersing myself in Failure.

more info here:


back at ksw with kaya, claire, the cities, and other beloved peoples.

clockwise from top: the Invisible Cities; Claire Light; [yours truly]; Neela Banerjee. i believe Ellen Oh took these pictures! thanks, Ellen.
had a beautiful evening back at kearny street workshop on Monday, Feb 1st, for Kaya Press’ SF launch of lydia’s funeral video. it was amazing to catch up with beloved friends i hadn’t seen in years–all incredible, brilliant, talented people.

claire light read a chapter of her amazing new novel, sadie contini & han wang of the  invisible cities performed a beautiful set–with special guest drummer (and singer!) melissa hung!–, and neela banerjee was a tremendous and inspiring emcee.

i did excerpts of the play–and also stumbled my way through a q&a led by claire (not my most impressive moments on the planet, but i appreciate claire’s & other folks’ questions, which i somehow managed to totally not answer, in spite of my best intentions).

much gratitude to everyone who made it happen and everyone who was there–it was such a joy to be in the space with everyone.

(original event description: )

12592326_10206299300185931_1850962534342642586_n12669635_10206299298025877_3513479326615151167_n 12647235_10153624523691749_5985116266020202957_n

an evening with Kaya & brilliant friends at Ave 50 studio

Lilly Flor del Valle (right), with Salvador (left)

on Monday, 1/25, Ave 50 Studio in Highland Park hosted Kaya’s LA launch event for Lydia. Chris Larkin performed his first live Carry Hatchet set, Jesse Bliss read some of her theater and poetry work, and Lilly Flor del Valle performed some son joracho.

it was a truly lovely evening; thanks so much to Ave 50 Studio, Chris, Jesse, & Lilly! and of course to Kaya Press, and to Neela Banerjee for organizing everything and
being a masterful emcee.

(original event description:

Chris Larkin (Carry Hatchet), Sam Chanse, and Jesse Bliss.


1/25: LA Launch Event for Lydia’s Funeral Video with Jesse Bliss, Lilly Flor del Valle, Carry Hatchet, and Kaya


Monday, January 25, 2016

Los Angeles Launch for Lydia’s Funeral Video with Sam Chanse, Jesse Bliss, Lilly Flor del Valle, Carry Hatchet, and Kaya Press

Date/Time: Monday, January 25th, 7.30-9.30pm

Location: Avenue 50 Studio, 131 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, California 90042

Come out to Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park for the Los Angeles launch event of Lydia’s Funeral Video from Kaya Press. A special night of performance featuring Sam Chanse (Lydia’s Funeral Video) and Jesse Bliss (Tree of Fire), and musical guests Lilly Flor del Valle and Carry Hatchet. Sam and Jesse will perform, and then engage in conversation about playwriting, the art of performance, and more. Kaya Press will be on hand with books and drinks for sale. Reception to follow. Free!

More info:

acknowledging (some aspects of) 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, I hereby acknowledge some of the playwriterly/theater-y experiences of the last twelve months that come to mind, and for which I am grateful*:

January – June: Meeting of the Minds at the Lark, where I was able to get to know awesome writer-humans Migdalia Cruz, Laura Marks, Callie Kimball, Charlie Sohne, and Charles Wiekel, and awesome facilitators (and also awesome writer-humans) Andrea Hiebler, Matthew Paul Olmos, and James Kennedy. YAY LARK.

February: the Sundance/Ucross Playwrights and Composers Retreat in northeast Wyoming (and where I witnessed a stunning string of sunrises), with the outstanding Pia Wilson, Fernanda Coppel, Julianne Wicke Davis, Mallery Avidon, Ayad Akhtar, and Nikos Tsakalakos. (The trip was cut a bit short due to a bedbug scare, but hey: sometimes parasitic insects, and Fear, happen.)

March: the Claque’s 2015 Quick and Dirties (QuaDs) opening weekend retreat at SPACE at Ryder Farm, along with playwrights Anna Moench and Seth Moore, and directors Kareem Fahmy, Nick Leavens, Matt Dickson, and Danya Taymore. Play readings and looking at very cute sheep in the snow; these things made me happy.

– Lydia’s Funeral Video published by Kaya Press, after many years working with the amazing (and amazingly patient and tenacious) folks at Kaya Press and Spoon+Fork;
– Kaya Press’ Voices and Visions Self/Split performance at USC, with the brilliant D’Lo, Chiwan Choi, Nicholas Wong, and Prince Gomolvilas (and first hardcopy appearance of Lydia’s Funeral Video);
– Kaya Press at the AWP conference in Minneapolis; reading again with (the still brilliant) Chiwan Choi and Nicholas Wong, and tabling and hanging out with some awesome peoples, including Kaya’s Zoe Ruiz, Neelanjana Banerjee, Sunyoung Lee, Jean Ho, Ed Lin, and Pireeni Sundaralingam.

– Ma-Yi Labfest reading of DELIVERY with director Cat Miller, with incredible cast Farah Bala, Vandit Bhatt, Kimberly Chatterjee, Meethu Chilana, Layla Khoshnoudi, Sunita Mukhi, Kelley O’Donnell, Lori Parquet, and Tiffany Villarin
– QuaDs workshop presentation of FRUITING BODIES at the Sheen Center, directed by the wondrous Kareem Fahmy, and performed by the luminous cast that was Francis Jue, Amy Kim Waschke, Natalie Kim, Jon Norman Schneider, and Dan Hoyle.

May – June: a magical MacDowell residency, where I met many, many incredible artists. Also: climbing a mountain, eating out of picnic baskets, losing my mind in the best ways.

– Me, Myself, and Kaya fundraiser for Spoon+Fork and Kaya at Orbital, with performances from the unparalled Robert Lee, Cindy Cheung, and Bob Kelly.
– the Yale Institute for Music Theatre with composer-collaborator friend Bob Kelly, and having the chance to work with director Lee Sunday Evans, music director Matt Castle, dramaturg Catherine Sheehy, and the glorious cast of Cindy Cheung, Christina Sajous, Aubie Merrylees, Wade McCollum, Jesse Manocherian, Addi McDaniel, Ramiz Monsef, Erika Anclade, Julian Decker, and percussionist Allen Branch.
– FRUITING BODIES recognized on the 2015 Kilroys List; thank you again, Kilroys.

– workshop production of gilgamesh & the mosquito with NYU’s Collaboration and Development Production Series, with director and CDP co-director Rob Heller, dramaturg, CDP co-director Brandon Anderson, choreographer Mia Sommese, and a fantastic cast of Adee David, Colin Parrinello, Gabriella Concepcion, Sommer Carbuccia, Kaitlyn Reda, Moira Hammel, Corynne Peters, Jake Brasch, and Zac Fadler.
– joined the 2015-2016 Civilians R&D group with a very cool group of writers, directors, and theater practitioners
– becoming a new auntie, thanks to my sister and her partner bringing a beautiful new human into the world (okay, that’s not really playwriterly/theater-y, but eh).

– joining the Playwrights Realm as a 2015-2016 writing fellow, and getting to know fellow fellows Lauren Feldman, Jonathan Payne, David Zax, and their beautiful work;
– New York launch event at WORD in Brooklyn, with Kaya Press and Ed Lin!

– Sharing two readings with Chiwan Choi at the Fall for the Book Festival.

October: with composer-collaborator friend Bob Kelly, writing a new short musical, everything the moon could be, performed by the always remarkable & radiant Cindy Cheung, directed by the marvelous Dev Bondarin, as part of Prospect Theater Company’s 2015 Musical Theater Lab Stage Fright

October: New York Theater Barn’s New Work Series

December: creating a new piece for IMMIGRANT, Leviathan Lab’s first installment of its new Living Room Series, and working with the stellar Mei Ann Teo as director and Donatella Galella as dramaturg, and equally stellar cast Diana Oh, Jordan Barbour, and Kenneth Lee.

MONTHLESS, FOR IT IS ALWAYS & FOREVER: Another year with Ma-Yi Lab–learning from the largest group of Asian American playwrights ever assembled in the course of human history, getting to know and experience their work, being inspired and encouraged and challenged. And enjoying snacking together, of course. And the online thread. And occasional road trip.

other things I acknowledge:

semifinalism & finalism! finalist of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, semifinalist of the P73 playwriting fellowship, and semifinalist of the Clubbed Thumb Biennial. I acknowledge.

receiving an EST/Sloan commission to write a play about neuroscience, memory, and trauma. I haven’t finished writing it yet, so this is going in the “other things I acknowledge” category, but I’ve started, and I’ve been able to meet and speak with some very cool, very impressive (and maybe a little intimidating), humans as part of the research, for which I’m grateful. I acknowledge.

receiving my first ever bantercut tee from bandmate Jim Espinas. bantercut 4-evah.

of course, seeing and experiencing the work of incredible writers, including but not limited to Lloyd Suh, Kimber Lee, Jiehae Park, Rehana Lew Mirza, Taylor Mac, Dipika Guha, Julia May Jonas, Caroline Prugh, Thomas Connors, Branden Jacob-Jenkins, Don Nguyen, Octavio Solis

Bob and I making demos of Lobsters Live Forever with the amazing Cindy Cheung and Ashley Park (I guess this coulda gone in a month, but I don’t remember which month).

joining Ars Nova’s Play Group (this perhaps could have gone in December, but it still feels so new. perhaps I will relocate it to december later.)

failing to win at the Hamilton lottery countless times

Ongoing: being an auntie of my over-six-year-old nephew

* will return to this post at some point in 2016 [now less than 3 hours away] to edit/revise/maybe make less frighteningly haphazard.

1/17/2016: Fruiting Bodies at Ma-Yi’s Winter 2016 Labfest

Winter-LabFest-photo-long-banner_3-580x303As part of Ma-Yi’s Winter Labfest:

by Sam Chanse
Directed by Shelley Butler

Jason Liebman*, Teresa Avia Lim*, Diana Oh*, Matthew Park, and James Saito*
*Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

Stage Manager:
Samantha Cotton

Sunday, January 17th @ 7pm 
A.R.T./N.Y., Bruce Mitchell Room, 520 8th Avenue, 3rd Floor


link to FB event:

link to Ma-Yi Winter Labfest full schedule:

2/1/2016: Lydia’s Funeral Video Bay Area Launch with Claire Light & The Invisible Cities


Co-presented by Kaya Press and Kearny Street Workshop

February 1st, 2016
Arc Gallery & Studios
1246 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94106
Doors: 7:30pm Start: 8pm

Pre-sale ticket price of $20 (including a discounted copy of Lydia’s Funeral Video) or $7 without / Door price of $23 including book or $10 without.

In SAM CHANSE’S satirical one-woman play, LYDIA’S FUNERAL VIDEO, set in a near distant future, devout bank clerk Lydia Clark-Lin has 28 days to terminate an unplanned pregnancy, shoot her own funeral video, and do some stand-up comedy. Come celebrate the recent publication of Lydia’s Funeral Video by Kaya Press, which along with the full-script, features a full counterpoint narrative, stream-of-consciousness illustrations (a flip book!), essays, notes and more. Sam Chanse will read from the book, and then discuss it with Claire Light — plus music by The Invisible Cities.

click here for more info

Lydia’s Funeral Video’s NYC launch at WORD, with Kaya Press

Next Wednesday, 9/23, beloved publisher Kaya Press is throwing a reading and launch event at Brooklyn’s WORD to celebrate the release of Lydia’s Funeral Video, a solo play (some of you know) i wrote some years ago.

Kaya is an incredible independent press (now in its 21st year!) publishing books of the asian pacific diaspora, and a home for writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books. I love their books, and I’m honored and humbled (and thrilled) that they published this play; and the book is beautiful; the crew at Kaya and Spoon+Fork (the designers) put in an incredible amount of care and time and love (as they do with all their books), and it shows (as it always does).

So naturally, I want to share Kaya and the book with all humans everywhere!

Please join fellow Kaya author (and Awesome Human) Ed Lin and Kaya and me at WORD next wednesday if you happen to be free & in nyc;

Whether or not you can make the event, please take a look at the book and at Kaya‘s catalogue (helpful links below!). if you aren’t already a Kaya fan (or even if you are), and consider ordering a Kaya book (or two or three) for yourself or for a loved one (or for not-a-loved one; they also will appreciate).

And please to stop by Word (again, if you aren’t already a fan, or even if you are);  it’s an awesome space, and we’re exceedingly happy that they’re hosting this event.

Here’s the information:

Lydia’s Funeral Video at WORD
with Sam Chanse and Ed Lin

Date: Wednesday, September 23rd
Time: 7:00-8.30PM
Location: WORD, 126 Franklin St, Brooklyn, New York
Other stuff: FREE: there will also be some snacks & drinks. and books.

Celebrate the release of LYDIA’S FUNERAL VIDEO from Kaya Press.
Sam Chanse reads and then discusses the book with Ed Lin.

about the book:
Lydia’s Funeral Video, a one-woman play that takes that most existential of quandaries — to be or not to be — and transposes it onto a dystopian not-so-distant future.

about Kaya:
Kaya publishes books of the Asian Pacific diaspora. 

Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. We believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. We believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production.

Please visit their website & take a look at all their books & authors:
please pass on to whomever you think might be interested, and thanks for reading.


The Civilians Welcome 2015-16 R&D Group

Very excited to be embarking on an investigative theater-writing season with the Civilians’ Research & Development group, with the following awesome humans: Benjamin Kamine, Claire Kiechel, Colette Robert, Dan Safer, Dominic Finocchiaro, EllaRose Chary, Gordon Leary, Jordan Mahome, Jay Stull, Julia Meinwald, Ken Urban, Lee Sunday Evans, Sam Chanse, Sanaz Ghajar, Sash Bischoff, Susan Soon He Stanton, Suzanne Agins, Tidtaya Sinutoke, and Ty Defoe.