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Sam Chanse

Sam Chanse is a writer and theater artist based in New York and California. A 2015 Sundance Ucross Playwright Fellow and member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, her work has also been supported by the Lark Play Development Center, Labyrinth Theater, Leviathan Lab, the Actor’s Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit, Second Generation, Ars Nova, Bindlestiff Studio, Asian American Theater Company, Tofte Lake Center, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her plays, musicals, and theater work include Fruiting BodiesGilgamesh & the Mosquito (with composer Bob Kelly), Lobsters Live Forever (also with Bob Kelly), Marian JeanAbout That Whole Dying ThingBack to the Graveyard, and Lydia’s Funeral Video. She received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, and in musical theater writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. For some years in the aughts, she served as the artistic director of San Francisco-based arts nonprofit Kearny Street Workshop, and as co-director of Locus Arts. A former & proud member of bantercut, she is also a fan of the biocoastal salon sensation that is Laundry Party.

KYP_Lydia'sBookCover_010914_V9 copy

Lydia’s Funeral Video

Lydia’s Funeral Video is a one-woman play written and performed by Sam Chanse, a playwright and performer based in New York and California. In this apocalyptic satire, devout bank clerk Lydia Clark-Lin has 28 days to terminate an unplanned pregnancy, shoot her own funeral video and do some standup comedy. As the camera rolls and Lydia gamely sets about her grim task, a story emerges that is at once hilarious and unnerving. This publication unites the full theater script of Lydia’s Funeral Video with a new counterpoint narrative and stream-of-consciousness illustrations that enhance this dynamic realization of a live theater experience in book form. Also included are notes and an essay about the origins and development of the piece, as well as a special mini-flipbook. Seamlessly weaving in questions of race, gender identity and more existential questions, Lydia’s Funeral Video is bold, unpredictable storytelling at its inventive and unsettling best.

“Spiked with surreal celebrity trash-culture references, sardonic moral relativity, and Samantha Chanse’s biting wit, Lydia’s Funeral Video celebrates irreverent political incorrectness and the societal gray areas in all of us.” — Flavorpill San Francisco

Sam Chanse news

Interview with Sam Chanse: Dystopias, Reproductive Rights, and Bi-Racial Horror Stories

The acclaimed playwright talks with us about dystopias, utopias, reproductive rights, and bi-racial horror stories. The world that the play is set in is kind of a semi-dystopian society in terms of the deplorable state of reproductive rights; in opposition to that, what are some aspects that would be present in your utopian version of […]

Lydia’s Funeral Video NYC Book Launch

The launch of Lydia’s Funeral Video in NYC was a fun night of conversation between Kaya authors, Sam Chanse and Ed Lin. Both authors’ sense of humor shines through the page, and at this event, they shone on the stage. The two covered many topics–from the influence of San Francisco on the play to the […]


Celebrate the release of LYDIA’S FUNERAL VIDEO in New York! Sam Chanse reads and then discusses the book with Ed Lin. RSVP on Facebook! 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 […]

Sam Chanse’s Self-Interview with the Nervous Breakdown

The Nervous Breakdown featured a self-interview with Sam Chanse, author of LYDIA’S FUNERAL VIDEO, in which she explores her resistance to social media, differentiates solo play and one-woman show, talks anxiety, and more. If you haven’t read her book yet, get to it! You can get a head start by reading an excerpt on the Nervous Breakdown […]


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— Junot Díaz