ST. GEORGE – A statue of acclaimed child pilot Vicki Van Meter stands tall at the St. George Municipal Airport bringing joy to those who visit and fly in and out of Southern Utah. Her sister, Elizabeth Van Meter, a documentary filmmaker and performer, established “The Purpose Project” after Vicki’s sudden death in 2008 to honor her.
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., for one night only, Elizabeth Van Meter will perform her one-woman show in the community where it originated. While visiting her parents who live in St. George, she received a call from a New York producer asking her to create a full-length solo show based on her documentary film to be performed at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City.
Elizabeth Van Meter accepted the call and began writing the multimedia theater piece that has been lauded by sell-out crowds throughout the United States, including audiences in New York City, upstate New York, New Jersey and St. Louis, Missouri, Elizabeth Van Meter said.
“I had been working on this documentary for years,” she said. “I came to St. George to get away from the city and quiet my mind and hunker down to finish this film.”
The show synopsis goes something like this:
Elizabeth is coping with the life-altering tragedy of the loss of her sister when she comes upon a photograph that transforms her life. Combining video and live performance, Elizabeth tells the story of two very unlikely friends who bridge continents to come together and create a remarkable collaboration.
“What an honor it is to come back to the place where my journey with this solo show began,” Elizabeth Van Meter said. “Writing this work among the peaceful red rocks of St. George was a blessing – I am thrilled to be able to perform this piece in this sacred place among friends.”
While Elizabeth Van Meter said the show is not about her sister Vicki, it is, in a broad scope, about her relationship with her sister and the choices she made when dealing with her sister’s passing.
“My sister Vicki continues to serve as an inspiration in all the work I do,” she said.
The impetus for the documentary which is nearing completion after 5 and a half years, and later the one-woman act, was a photograph that Elizabeth Van Meter was shown while visiting a friend, a successful photo journalist, she said, who had just returned from a trip to Vietnam.
Elizabeth Van Meter said that her friend had shown her several photographs of children in Vietnam who had been born with agent orange poisoning but it was a picture of one young woman in a wheelchair near a makeshift library of her own creation that acted as the catalyst for the show and Elizabeth Van Meter’s personal healing, she said.
“The show is about loss, hope and finding healing halfway around the world in the most unlikely place,” Elizabeth Van Meter said.
The performance is being co-sponsored by Dixie State University Cultural Arts and Emceesquare Media Inc.
“Dixie State University is pleased to bring this acclaimed play and talented performer to St. George,” DSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Christina Schultz said. “We are confident that audiences will be entertained and enlightened by this show.”
Van Meter’s performance will honor the memory of her sister Vicki, and her parents Corinne and Jim Van Meter.
“This really is a show for everyone,” Elise West, Creative Producer for Emceesquare, said. “Families, couples, singles, all of us who are looking to find meaning and purpose in life. What Elizabeth has created out of loss and tragedy is remarkable and will undoubtedly leave viewers renewed and filled with hope.”
The performance will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at the DSU Eccles Fine Arts Center Main Stage Theater, 225 S. 700 E., in St. George.
St. George News reporter Hollie Reina contributed to this report.
- When: Saturday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center, Main Stage Theater, 225 South 700 East, St. George
- Cost: Adults $12, students $5
- Tickets: Tickets can be purchased in advance here or at the door
- Additional information: For students wishing to see the show but needing financial assistance, there will be scholarship seating available to students of DSU, WCSD or DXATC. There is a limit of 25 tickets. To apply send a brief ticket request to [email protected]
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