Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, Elizabeth Liang’s solo-performance look back at growing up a mixed-heritage child without a single country or culture to call her own, has been released on DVD to inform, entertain, and move those who might have missed its 2013 Asylum Lab World Premiere, its 2017 Bootleg reprise, or its multiple national/international engagements from New York to Panama to Iceland to Spain to South Africa to Singapore … and counting.

 With a Chinese-Spanish Guatemalan father and a “European-hodgepodge” American mother, Elizabeth Liang might already have had identity issues even had her childhood and adolescence been spent in her native Guatemala, but these would have paled in comparison with those she faced when her Xerox-executive dad found himself transferred to country after country after country.

 First came Costa Rica, then Connecticut USA, then Egypt, then Morocco, then Egypt again, then back to Central America (but Panama this time) before college had her returning to the States and heading towards an acting career that has seen her recur on The West Wing, guest on Criminal Minds and Law & Order: LA, appear in numerous English-and-Spanish-language commercials, star on L.A. theater stages, and win a Best Lead Actress Scenie for her work in Beth Henley’s Crimes Of the Heart, just one of her three East West Players starring roles.

Still, if there was anyone in need of an encouraging word long before “It Gets Better” became part of our national lexicon, it was Liang, bullied by WASPy New England classmates, verbally taunted by Middle Eastern teens, and rejected even by what she hoped would at long last be a welcoming, culturally diverse college student body.

Theater saved Liang, and now provides her the opportunity to share her experiences, not just with her fellow “third-culture kids” but with the world at large.

 American Citizen: An Earth Odyssey benefits enormously from Sofie Calderon’s imaginative direction, its vivid stage lighting, scene-setting projections (given added impact on home video), and evocative sound design.

Ultimately, though, it is Liang the writer-actor who makes American Citizen take flight in a performance at once funny, dramatic, passionate, heartbreaking, and engaging, as much to those who share at least part of her experience as to those who managed somehow to grow up without a care (or cultural identity question) in the world.

 While specific to one woman’s life, American Citizen: An Earth Odyssey is as mind-engaging and heart-touching as solo performances get, and with Liang’s one-woman show now available for worldwide home-and-school viewing, its informative, inspiring journey has only just begun.

Director of Photography: Javier Calderon. Editor: Daniel Lawrence. Camera operator: Thomas (Costa) Ciminiello. Sound recordist: Patrick Williams. Lighting technician: Tommy Dunn. Sound design and color correction: Daniel Lawrence. Stage Projection Designers: Matt Richter, Daniel Lawrence. Stage Lighting Designers: Matt Richter, Elizabeth Liang. Stage Sound Designers: Dennis Yen, Daniel Lawrence. Filmed at Vs. Theatre, Los Angeles. Stage Manager & Light Board Operator: Tommy Dunn. Projections & Sound Board Operator: Daniel Lawrence

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–Steven Stanley
January 1, 2018