On Saturday, May 7, 2022, nine members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula (UUFP) went on a field trip to Norfolk. The trip started out as a desire by a few Racial Justice Team members to see the play “Exodus: Homecoming.” However, before long, it evolved into an adventure involving carpooling, a picnic, the viewing of the play, and a Zoom session to discuss the play’s topics.
Although previous days’ weather forecasts had predicted “a damaging thunderstorm,” the intrepid UUFP adventurers persevered with their plans. Fortunately, the weather on the day of the trip was chilly, but not rainy. The nine adventurers were rewarded for their perseverance with:
- Safe and congenial carpooling rides during which members had an opportunity to get to know each other better and discuss the play.
- A lovely picnic in Lafayette Park. Though each person brought their own lunch, Sandra Engelhardt made a delicious dessert that she shared with the group. Additionally, the picnickers got to see part of a rugby match between the Norfolk Blues and Newport News teams before heading off to the play. Seeing a live match was a first for most. Sadly, for Newport News, the Norfolk Blues team won.
- Viewing the last of three performances of “Exodus: Homecoming” at the historic Attucks Theatre. The play caught the attention of the UUFP’s Racial Justice Team because it was created by the In[HEIR]itance Project (a national arts organization) in collaboration with local residents from Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Together they developed the themes of the play, which addressed local issues of tunnel congestion, flooding and jet noise, as well as national concerns of redlining, eminent domain, freedom, and family (and community) ties. The play was presented in three acts: Act One tells the tale of seven squabbling siblings (representing the seven cities) coming home to their mother’s dilapidated home, which is situated in Hampton Roads. Act Two addressed the history of the Attucks Theatre itself, and Act Three moved on to a future that was both apocalyptic and hopeful.
- Post-performance discussions of the play. UUFP attendees had multiple chances to discuss the play. The first occurred at the theater immediately after the performance during which the producer, director, sponsors, and community members answered questions from the audience. Another occurred during the carpooling ride home, and the last was during a Zoom discussion set up by Mason and Pat Moseley. The group consensus was that the acting, humor, music, and dance routines were entertaining. However, the play was sometimes frustratingly disjointed and hard to follow.
Despite reservations regarding the play’s narrative, the attendees were glad they attended. All agreed, that like the best field trips, this one provided an opportunity for a different perspective on topics of interest. The group looks forward to the next adventure. Come join us! All are welcome.
To learn more about the play and the Attucks Theatre, check out the following:
- The Daily Press article review of the play “Exodus: Homecoming,” published on 6 May 2022 and titled: “Process over Product, ‘Exodus: Homecoming’ at the Attucks,” by Page R. Laws. (Also available through The Virginian-Pilot.)
- The In[HEIR]itance Project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/inheiritanceproject
- The Attucks Theatre: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attucks_Theatre
Photos of the Picnic and Play (click images to enlarge):