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API Arts Network Presents: 140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother

Experience 140 LBS , a theatrical, autobiographical solo dramedy written & performed by Susan Lieu.


Thursday, November 21, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Friday, November 22, 7:30 - 9:00 pm

Saturday, November 23, 7:30 - 9:00 pm

Click here to purchase tickets, prices starting at $25

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.

Directed by Sara Porkalob, 140 LBS has been featured on NPR, The San Francisco Chronicle, ABC7 News, CAAMFest 37, and The Moth Mainstage. The San Francisco Chronicle calls it "fascinating, touching, upsetting, poignant, startling, affecting, engrossing, emotional, informative and, more than anything, humane." 140 LBS had a sold-out world premiere February 2019 in Seattle, sold-out premiere in San Francisco in May 2019, and is making its premiere in Boston in partnership with ArtsEmerson, the API Arts Network, and the Pao Arts Center.

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Susan Lieu, Playwright & Performer
Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese-American activist playwright and performer who tells stories that refuse to be forgotten. With a vision for individual and community healing—made possible through the interplay of comedy and drama—her work delves deeply into the lived realities of body insecurity, grieving, and trauma. Her first work, 140 LBS: HOW BEAUTY KILLED MY MOTHER, is a solo theatrical show about the true story of how Lieu lost her mother to plastic surgery malpractice when she was 11 years old and her search to find the man responsible for her mother's death. Lieu plays 11 characters in 75 minutes, weaving the story through the lens of the Vietnamese refugee experience. She has been featured at CAAMFest37, The Moth Mainstage, and RISK! Susan is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale School of Management. For more information, go to or follow her on instagram @susanlieu.

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Sara Porkalob, Director
Sara Porkalob is an award winning artist-activist and creator of the DRAGON CYCLE. She’s based in Seattle but will very soon be working all over the nation. She’s featured in Seattle Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2018, City Art’s 2017 Futures List, and served as Intiman Theatre's 2017 Co-Curator. She is a co-founder of DeConstruct, an online journal of intersectional performance critique. The DRAGON CYCLE is a trilogy of plays about the three generations of her family; one play for each generation built around a central female protagonist. The first in the cycle, Dragon Lady (a two act cabaret with original music focused on her gangster/nightclub singer Grandma), is the recipient of three 2018 Gregory Awards for Outstanding Sound/Music Design, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and Outstanding Musical Production. For more information, go to or follow her on instagram @sporkalob.

Directions: The Pao Arts Center is located in the One Greenway building, 99 Kneeland Street. For GPS driving directions, use 66 Hudson Street, Boston, MA 02111. From Hudson Street, walk up the stairs and across the deck to the 99 Albany Street entrance. The public parking garage entrance is on Hudson Street. The Pao Arts Center is accessible by the MBTA green, red, and orange lines.

Contact: Anju Madhok | 617-863-9073