Playwright Spotlight: Jessica Chisum


Author of   (2016 Cupcake Spring Readings– Shorts Night!)


Where did the idea for your play come from?

First off, I am a new mom, so there’s that. Very little brain space can be devoted to anything besides #momming. The seed of the play came to me after I agreed to take part in an infant study at UW, an experience which I found very surreal and bewildering. Think dusty animatronic puppy dogs and giant TV sets playing video loops of 80s-era jazzercise moms chirping “Good Baby!” Neither of those things are in my play, unfortunately, but the weary new mom venturing out into creepy medical office idea started there.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?

Any play in which the characters eat Cadbury Mini Eggs brings me great joy. Also the ending, which was extremely cathartic for me.

What projects are you currently working on?

Getting set to dramaturg Live Girls’ Things You Can Do at ACTLab, opening in July. Also getting ready to film my play There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, about moms and Morrissey, the lead singer of The Smiths.

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

surprises me, makes me laugh and cry, and teaches me new things.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)?

Photographer I follow on instagram: Flora Borsi. She creates truly astounding images with Photoshop. Seriously check this out:


What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?

Don’t wait around for someone to cast you, make your own thing.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?

The more you do it, the easier it gets. Also, breathe.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?


What is your favorite and least favorite word?

I’m gonna get all literary and say litost: litost is a nearly untranslatable Czech word:  “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery,” as described in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. Litost connects insult to revenge, with desire to strike back at the perceived source of one’s shame. It’s the best and worst word. Also it has the delicious word “toast” in it.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

It’s great to be back! I’ve been a fan of Live Girls since 1998; can’t believe I finally get to hang out with amazing artists and do fun stuff as an official company member. I think I’ve worn my Live Girls tee shirt everyday for the past week. TMI?




Jessica Chisum is an actor, playwright and Live Girls’ newest oldest company member. Live Girls! has produced her plays DROWNED, MELEKELIKIMAKA COMRADE and HEAD FOR YOU TAIL FOR ME; also SUPERGIRL, YELLOWED, and INSERT QUARTER HERE were produced as part of Live Girls! Quickies. In San Francisco, she wrote PROMENADE produced by Three Wise Monkeys and PHOEBE PHOENIX SAVES THE WORLD, both of which were selected to be performed at the Last Frontier Theatre Festival in Valdez, Alaska. Her play THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT premiered at PianoFight in San Francisco in January 2016, as part of San Francisco TheatrePub’s MORRISSEY PLAYS. She was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska.