( 1959- )
Chafee grew up in New York City where she studied acting and directing. She also studied in London and spent time in San Francisco studying drama therapy while working in theatre. For Theatre Rhinoceros, she was one of the composers for Judy Grahn Queen of Swords. Chafee spent a year in the master of fine arts ( MFA) program at Brown University, where she studied with Anna Deavere Smith and Paula Vogel, but she returned to San Francisco where she became an associate artist at the Magic Theatre. Her play Why We Have a Body ran there for six months prior to New York and Los Angeles runs.
About the lack of a political agenda in her plays, she states, "I resist topics. Topics don't interest me and I resist speaking for any one other than myself. I'm from the school of thought that if you're willing to go deeper into what you don't know about yourself, it's more interesting than expressing what you think you do know about other people" ( Milvy, D26).
Chafee taught playwriting at San Francisco State University while completing A Practical Guide to the Night Sky, a commission from the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She is adapting Why We Have a Body for film and completing an MFA in fiction at Brown University.
Why We Have a Body ruminates on the lives of four women: an absent mother who is off exploring exotic lands; her youngest, psychotic daughter Mary, who robs only 7-Elevens; her oldest daughter Lili, a lesbian private detective who specializes in divorce cases; and the married woman Renee, whom Lili seduces. The mother is an archeologist, Renee is a paleontologist, and Mary is obsessed