Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sister of Child Pilot Vicki Van Meter Circles Back to Utah

In 1993 and 1994, Vicki Van Meter set two ridiculously impressive aviation records. At age 11, she became the youngest airplane pilot to make a transcontinental U.S. flight and at age 12, the youngest to complete a transatlantic journey, from Augusta, Maine to Glasgow, Scotland.

As you can imagine, Van Meter was a darling of U.S. talk shows, charming Maury Povich, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno and others. She went on to work abroad for the U.S. Peace Corps before passing away in 2008.

Next weekend, Van Meter's sister Elizabeth will perform, in the adopted Utah hometown area of their parents, a one-woman show that was inspired by Vicki and related documentary. Elizabeth told southern Utah TV station KCSG that the November 8th performance of The Purpose Project at Dixie State University in St. George will resonate additionally because that's where she was when she got the call from a New York theater producer to turn her documentary into a play:

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 of Thao, a Vietnamese woman born with life-threatening birth defects as a result of Agent Orange. Video and live performance combine to tell the story of these two unlikely friends and their remarkable collaboration.
"What an honor it is to come back to the place where my journey with this solo show began," Elizabeth 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."

Elizabeth in her own career has done everything from film-TV parts to billboard ads to directing a series of shorts about Japanese Americans living in New York City. More information about the organizational side of The Purpose Project can be found here.

[Vicki Van Meter official site]

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