Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) and The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT) is excited to bring 140 LBS to a broader audience in Oakland, CA. The solo theater work is written and performed by Susan Lieu, a first-generation American born to Vietnamese refugees. The performance weaves together several through-lines: inter-generational trauma; parent-child relationships; body insecurity and shame; repression and healing from 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.
140 LBS speaks to a wide variety of communities as it lies at the intersection of different identities and lived experiences. The show brings forth questions of medical ethics, psychology, family narrative, and gender, and intersects with theater and performance, memory studies, Vietnamese language and culture, mental health and wellness, female empowerment, trauma and healing, and Asian American identity.
The day after the two-hour show, OACC will host the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Integrating Social Justice and Financial Sustainability with the Creative Path workshop. As a storyteller and activist, Susan Lieu has created a unique avenue for sharing her art as a means for social justice, but her identity as an entrepreneur in this field has also given her extensive experience in creating and producing art as a sustainable profession. This workshop will focus on the intersection between art, activism, and entrepreneurship. Susan will share her experience and strategies in the business of art and how to stay inspired and realistic as a working artist. Participants can workshop their ideas and develop an action plan on how to work on their creative ideas through a social justice and business lens immediately. 90-120 minutes.