Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

Elizabeth Liang finds home: Performance at Williams College ’62 Center

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Madeline Vuong, Special to Berkshires Week & Shires of Vermont

WILLIAMSTOWN — “Where are you from?”

It’s an easy question on the surface, but a more complicated matter if you’re Elizabeth Liang, a child of mixed-race parentage, who grew up in six different countries — Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt and the United States.

“‘Where are you from?’ was a question I got with almost boring regularity,” Liang said.

But as soon as she tried to answer, many people’s eyes glazed over, she said, and they assumed she and they had nothing in common. She learned not to talk about her life experiences.

“I listened instead,” she said.

She didn’t want to sound as though she were bragging, or as though she thought she was more worldly than her peers, she said, because that would isolate her more.

But after a childhood of staying quiet and trying to blend in, Liang decided she needed to talk openly about the experience of growing up internationally, especially as a mixed-race woman. Drawing on her training as a professional actor, she created a solo show, “Alien Citizen,” which she will perform tonight at the ‘62 Center at Williams College.

“[My show is] very personal, from a kid and teen’s perspective of living in these countries,” Liang said: “What it’s like to bike to school in a Cairo suburb, what Christmas in Guatemala is like, what it feels like to get stuck in a sandstorm on the sidewalks of Casablanca. And because I’m a kid and teenager through most of the show, there’s all the first love and crushes, and caring-about-being-cool stuff, too…

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