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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.

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Lydia’s Funeral Video


Lydia’s Funeral Video is a one-woman play written by Sam Chanse, a writer, performer, educator and arts organizer based in New York and San Francisco. 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 that enhances this dynamic realization of a live theater experience in book form. It also includes development and production notes that chart the daunting process of developing a solo performance, along with project documentation and community response and engagement. 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

Sam Chanse Featured in BD Wong’s GHOST STORIES

Sam Chanse was in New York one weekend last month for GHOST STORIES, a reading of short musicals inspired by Asian ghost stories and directed by BD Wong! The event was the inaugural project for Leviathan Lab‘s New Musicals Initiative. Chanse’s piece at Ghost Stories was LOBSTERS LIVE FOREVER, a collaboration with composer Bob Kelly. Check out […]

Sam Chanse Selected for Sundance’s 2015 Playwrights Retreat

Last week, Sundance announced the artists participating in their next Playwrights & Composers Retreat at Ucross Foundation—among them is Kaya author Sam Chanse. A big congrats to Sam and the six other artists! These artists will get to spend three weeks in February 2015 at Ucross Foundation, a residency program in Wyoming where artists will “both contribute to […]

Words of Wisdom: Benefit for the Phillippines in NYC Features Sam Chanse

On Monday, February 17, Ma-Yi Theater Company & Playwrights Horizons will present MGA KASABIHAN / WORDS OF WISDOM, a benefit to raise funds for people affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The performance will consist of several short plays, including one written by Kaya author Sam Chanse of forthcoming Lydia’s Funeral Video. As the New York Times reported earlier this […]


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