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.
Written, performed and produced by Susan Lieu. Directed by Sara Porkalob. Featured on NPR, The Seattle Times, KING5 News, Northwest Asian Weekly, Seattle Weekly, International Examiner, Seattle Globalist, diaCritics and The Stranger.
Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese-American playwright, solo performer and activist whose parents are Vietnamese refugee nail salon workers. “140 LBS” is a one-woman show on Body, Beauty + Death. It is the unfortunate true story of how Susan’s mother went in for plastic surgery and died due to a malpractice incident. At the time, Susan was 11 years old. The show 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.
In 2018, she performed this show at the On the Boards’ Northwest New Works Festival and Bumbershoot, North America’s largest contemporary arts festival. Her work has been profiled in NPR, KING5 News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly. She is supported by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, Artist Trust and STG. Lieu works with non-profit Washington Advocates for Patient Safety to increase awareness on looking up the background of medical providers before invasive procedures.
Susan began performing comedy in 2012, at venues including the Purple Onion, Carolines on Broadway and Jet City Improv. Her training includes Yale School of Drama and Freehold Theatre. She has a BA in Social Studies from Harvard, an MBA from Yale and is the co-founder of Socola Chocolatier, an artisanal chocolate company in San Francisco. She has been the Artist-in-Residence at The Collective in Seattle and is an alumna of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Program and Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.
Co-presented by APIQWTC (Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women Trans Community),