“140 LBS” is a solo performance written and performed by Susan Lieu, a first-generation American born to Vietnamese refugees, directed by Paul Budraitis. “140 LBS” is the true story of how Susan’s mother went in for plastic surgery and died due to a medical malpractice incident with the plastic surgeon. 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.
The performance style mixes in experiential elements grounded in the power of the unadorned, honest presence of the performer, rather than the more familiar emotive style of psychological acting. The goal is to foster a heightened sense of theater as a communal, active, shared experience guided by the performer, rather than the more traditional passive audience experience.
“140 LBS” will be a full-length production in Spring 2019. The show is supported by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and 4Culture of King County. An installment was featured in the 35th Annual On the Boards' Northwest New Works Festival in June 2018. An excerpt version will premier at Bumbershoot in August 2018.