Jessica Chisum Artist Spotlight

Meet Jessica Chisum Dramaturg for Things You Can Do July 8-31!


Jessica Chisum (Dramaturg) is Live Girls’ Literary Manager and has also collaborated with LG as an actor and playwright. Live Girls! Theater has produced her plays DROWNED, MELEKELIKIMAKA COMRADE, HEAD FOR YOU TAIL FOR ME, SUPERGIRL, YELLOWED, and INSERT QUARTER HERE. Other plays include 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 this year in San Francisco, as part of San Francisco Theatre Pub’s Morrissey Play Festival.

 What was your favorite moment so far working on this piece?

My favorite moment was presenting the dramaturgy packet during the workshop. The dramaturgy packet is full of helpful research that helps an actor navigate a play: visual research, and any unfamiliar terms, phrases and ideas. As an actor it feels like Christmas morning when you receive your dramaturgy packet. I was really excited to be the one giving the gifts!

 What has been your favorite challenge while working on this piece?

My favorite challenge was trying to explain to non-theatrical friends what exactly a dramaturg does. I might have said “I Google stuff!”

What images or songs helped inspire your work on this play?

Watching the Austra video for “Lose It” is like being in my living room when I am researching “stuff.” Basically everything distracts me, Solitaire, vacuum cleaners playing the harmonica, Austra videos… Also I love the part at the end of the song when she sings “In the darkness comes another, another/ Hold her by the thumbs, the other, the other.” Pretty sure she’s talking about a dramaturg.


What future projects are you excited about working on? 

I am beyond thrilled to be filming a short film later this year. It’s the film version of a play I wrote last year about Morrissey, Zooey Deschanel and parenting a newborn.

If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

In my dreams I can fly. In one memorable dream I flew out over the ocean and watched a pod of whales as they surfaced. It’s a superpower that I am pretty surprised I don’t have… yet.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?

How to make stage fright (or any anxiety) disappear:

Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

Makes me gasp. I have even said “WHAT!” as an audience member before quickly covering my mouth. There are definitely those type of moments in Things You Can Do! I will try to be quiet. I said try.


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

I am really “into” my one-year old, and hearing her learn new words every day. The acquisition of language is an amazing thing. Today’s word was “bracelet!”


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

Right now I am happy because I just learned I may be alive to see the hole in the ozone repair itself. It’s a nice thought.