Author, Coping With Life Tragedy Writes and Acts Out Heroic Act Of Vietnamese Woman

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

Elizabeth Van Meter of The Purpose Project.
Elizabeth Van Meter of The Purpose Project.

Elizabeth Van Meter has been dealing with the death of her sister, a famed woman airplane pilot, for many years and came upon a photograph of Thao, a Vietnamese woman, who, despite being born with life threatening birth defects, created a children’s library for her village.

Van Meter will perform in this story, which she wrote Sunday, March 16, 7 p.m. at the Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack. She is currently on her way to Japan to produce a video to help victims sill suffering from the effects years ago of the giant tsunami and earthquake that shook Japan.

Van Meter, in an interview with the Rockland County Times, says she will incorporate the story of the tragedy of her sister’s death into her one woman presentation, produced by ArtsRock of Rockland county and directed by Joe Ricci. She says the powerful Off-Broadway show, “The Purpose Project” is the true story of two unlikely friends told through video and Van Meter’s narration.

The New York Theatre Review has called the production “extraordinarilybBeautiful” and Stage Door St. Louis says it is “one of the most compelling and life-altering experiences you are likely to know.” Van Meter says the photo of Thao shows that the Vietnamese woman has almost no legs and she is sitting in her family’s storage structure that housed pig feed, fertilizer and books.

Despite her cripplng physical deformities, Thao has created a library for the children using found and donated materials. Thao told the photographer if she could have anything she asked for she would ask for $300 so she could buy more books for the children.

The photo of Thao became the catalyst for changes in the lives of two women. Van Meter brought a suitcase full of books to Thao in Trung Lao Thuong Commune, outside of Ho Chi Minh City, after she found her with no phone number, email or address.

Get tickets to “The Purpose Project” at Elmwood Playhouse by contacting ArtsRock.org or calling 855-278-2762. If anyone wishes to donate another $300 to Thao’s library or any part of it send it to “The Purpose Project” by skype: elizabeth.van.meter or call 917-969-5248.