The Purpose Project

The Purpose Project: Thao's Library

September 5 - 15, 2013

Purpose Project

  Thursday – Saturday 8:00 PM
  Sunday 2:00 PM

  At the Door:
  General  $30.00
  Student/Senior:  $25.00

  General:  $25.00 (plus fee)
  Student/Senior:  $20.00 (plus fee)


Elizabeth 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.  This show was originally presented as part of the "All For One Theatre Festival" in New ork City in 2012.  We are thrilled to bring this compelling story to our Mustard Seed Audience!

 Photo Credit:  Stephen Katz 


Director’s Note

Elizabeth is coping with a life-altering tragedy that has left her feeling hopeless, until one day she comes upon a photograph of Thao, a 25 year old Vietnamese woman born with life-threatening birth defects as a result of Agent Orange. Thao appears to have almost no legs and is sitting in her wheelchair outside of her family’s storage structure which houses pig feed, fertilizer and books. Despite her crippling physical deformities, Thao has created a library for the children of her village from found and donated materials. When the photographer who captured the image of Thao asks her, “If you could have anything in the world what would it be?”, Thao replies, “Three hundred dollars, so I can buy more books for the library.” Elizabeth is haunted by the photograph along with Thao’s simple request and commits to fulfilling her humble wish. Armed with a suitcase filled with books exceeding Thao’s three hundred dollar request and searching for a way to reach Thao, with no phone number, email, or address, Elizabeth and Thao soon find themselves face to face in Trung Lap Thuong Commune, outside of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  Elizabeth discovers a village where children who are first generation readers rush to explore the written word at Thao’s small library. There, too, is Thao’s family whose love outshines the poverty surrounding them. Through Thao’s simple request, these two unlikely friends have been brought together, forging a bond that eventually will change both of their lives forever. This work premiered as a full-length production at the All For One Festival in 2012. 

Production Photos

  • MustardSeedAllIsCalm47E
  • MustardSeedAllIsCalm43E
  • MustardSeedAllIsCalm46E
  • MustardSeedAllIsCalm42E

In the Media

The Purpose Project: Vital Voice
The Purpose Project: Stagedoor Review
The Purpose Project: Ladue News Review
The Purpose Project: StL. Today Review
The Purpose Project: Riverfront Times Review
The Purpose Project: Broadway World Review
The Purpose Project: St. Louis Magazine

Two on the Aisle Video Review


The Purpose Project: Show Program



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