I had the honor of hosting an artist talkback with Susan Lieu after her show in Boston in November 2019. Check out this inspiring, uplifting, heartwarming, and hilarious artist, and catch Susan’s show “140 lbs” on tour now!
Summary of “140lbs” show:
““140 LBS” is a solo performance written and performed by Susan Lieu, a first-generation American born to Vietnamese refugees. “140 LBS” is the true story of how Susan’s mother went in for plastic surgery and died due to medical malpractice. At the time of her mother’s death, Susan was 11 years old. Read about the true story here. The performance weaves together several through-lines: the multi-generational immigrant experience; body insecurity and shame; repression and subsequent examination of personal loss; lack of accountability in the medical system; Vietnamese folkloric practice of spirit channeling.
Two hours into surgery, Susan’s mother loses oxygen to her brain and the plastic surgeon deliberately does not call 9-1-1 for fourteen minutes. Five days later, while in a coma, she flatlines. The surgeon is charged with medical negligence and her family falls apart; no one talks about what happened. Nineteen years later on her wedding day, Susan’s mother’s seat sits empty and Susan realizes she can no longer ignore what she’s always wanted: to know who her mother was. Sifting through thousands of deposition pages and reaching out to the killer’s family, Susan uncovers the painful truth of her mother, herself, and the impossible ideal of Vietnamese feminine beauty.”
In the talkback, we discuss advice on being a hustling artist, personal and professional challenges of developing a show, and coming to terms with your own body. A group of us from Brown University journeyed from Providence to see Susan and hope to bring her to Brown for a performance next year.