Chisa was born in Queens, New York to young, irresponsible parents. She spent majority of her formative years under the care of a much more responsible, but chronically broke woman who was technically her godfather's mother, but who would later-in the fine, it-takes-a-village tradition of the broken family-simply become "Ma." Chisa grew up in the company of what seemed like hundreds of unofficially adopted brothers and sisters in Newark, New Jersey, where she excelled in school and philosophized with cockroaches about the ultimate merits of poverty. Her favorite six-legged pest, who called himself Swifty on account of his uncanny ability to elude the bottom of any shoe, once told her with a wistful chuckle,"One day, you will be able to look back and romanticize all this shit."
That day appeared on the horizon of Chisa's future when, at fourteen, she got a scholarship to what she thought was a boarding school. It turns out, however, that having more than one building-indeed, having a campus-does not a boarding school make (Chisa was naïve and probably should've read the brochures more carefully). So she moved about ten miles and a whole galaxy away from Newark to Short Hills to live with a host family comprised of a quirky, Buddhist psychologist, her then husband, a nature-loving, piano-playing Jew, their three kids, and an ancient dog named Baboo. It was a rough transition. But one which has, nevertheless, shaped Chisa and her writing for the better. She thinks.
A couple more awesome, supportive parents and several scholarships later, Chisa has earned a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU. Her works include She Like Girls, Dirt Rich, Mama's Gonna Buy You, The Subject, Sex on Sunday, Tunde's Trumpet, Somebody's Daughter, This Is Not the Play and Alondra Was Here. As she tends to write plays about underrepresented folks that require a minimum of five actors, she doubts very much that you'll see any of her plays on Broadway any time soon, but encourages you to support the intrepid companies that have presented her work, which include the Lark Play Development Center, City Parks' Summerstage, Working Man's Clothes, the New York NeoFuturists, Partial Comfort, the BE Company, Mad Dog Productions, Atlantic Theater Company, FilmGym, and Filmscape.
Chisa currently writes for the Blue Man Group in New York.
Awards & Recognitions
- New York Innovative Theatre Award
- GLAAD Award
- Lilly Award
- John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting