Skirball Cultural Centre, Los Angeles
1st March – & 28th April 2013
Timed to coincide with the passover season, Exodus Steps translates into vinyl the dramatic biblical story of the Hebrew’s escapefrom slavery in Egypt.
The piece is designed for everyone to enjoy and we urge people to try it out, place their feet in the footsteps of the characters and work out what happens. If you don’t know the Exodus story and feel some prior knowledge will help you out there follows a brief description of the Exodus Steps story scene by scene.
The Hebrews are enslaved in Egypt.
Scene 1: Founders Courtyard.
In order to avoid her baby falling into the hands of the Egyptians a mother places him in a basket and floats him out into the river.Downstream the baby is spotted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He is rescued and named Moses. Miriam has followed her brother’s progress and when shehears the Princess is looking for someone to nurse Moses, she volunteers her mother and thus is able to bring him home.
Scene 2: Downstairs behind reception.
Moses sees a Hebrew slave being mistreated, intervenes and in so doing kills the slave master. Moses must flee Egypt.
Scene 3: Outside Audry’s Bookshop.
Out wandering Moses meets seven sisters at a well, included Zapporah, his future wife.
Scene 4: The Melkin Corridor.
Resting in the wilderness Moses is surprised by a bush catching fire. God’s voice comes from the bush, telling Moses that he has been chosen to lead theHebrew people to freedom.
Scene 5: Further Down The Melkin Corridor.
Returning to Egypt Moses and his family meet Aaron, Moses’ brother who volunteers to help in the task ahead.
Scene 6: Rooftop terraces.
Moses and Aaron visit Pharaoh and explain that their God has asked him to release the Hebrew people from Slavery. Pharaoh declares that he is not afraid of the Hebrew God. A series of plagues descend on the Pharaoh’s people whilst Moses and his family shelter safe at home. After each plague Pharaoh grants the Hebrews freedom, only to later change his mind.
Scene 7a: In the foyer of the Getty Gallery
Like all the Hebrew people, Moses’ family put lamb’s blood on their door posts as a sign that the tenth plague should pass over their house. This is the night of their escape to freedom.
Scene 7b: Outside the lift and building.
The Hebrews run for freedom, following a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night.
Scene 8: The Rainbow Arbor.
Pharaoh has sent soldiers and chariots to chase the Hebrews. Trapped, Moses trusts God and parts the sea with his rod. Once the Hebrews are safely across the waters of the sea close back in drowning their pursers. Aaron is astounded. Miriam celebrates by leading a dance. Moses is exhausted and a sheep contemplates its future.
Scene 9: Ampitheatre (right hand side).
In the wilderness the Hebrews have started worshiping a golden model of a cow. Meanwhile moses is up a mountain talking with God, who gives him the Ten Commandments. Moses is appalled by what he finds when he returns to camp. He sorts things out an sets off to plead with God again.
Scene 10: Ampitheatre (left hand side).
Now the Hebrews have built a tabernacle to worship their own God. The Ten Commandments are in place and thoughts turn to the future and The Promised Land.
There are two Eye-Spy challenges hidden in Exodus Steps for observant children and adults alike. Each scene has a ‘hidden’ object to be sought out.
The Passover Challenge: the easier of the two challenges. In the Jewish ritual of Passover a series of symbolic objects are used. Can you find them? To make this easier each of the objects is pink.
You are looking for (in no particular order): A candle, a feather, an egg, the leaves of a bitter herb, a pice of lamb shank, four glasses of wine and a goblet.
The Hametz Challenge: early in the Passover ritual children are asked to search the house for ten pieces of Hametz (leaven/risen bread). In a vinyl version of this challenge we have hidden a mini roll/ bread loaf in each scene to be found. Some of the hiding places are quite sneaky, so you will have to look carefully.
The clues for who all the characters are can be found in the show, but if you are struggling to work them out, here they are for you.
Blue = Moses (and his Mum).
Dark Green = Miriam.
Lime Green = Zipporah.
Purple = Aaron.
Red = Pharaoh (and his Daughter).
Black = Egyptians.
Yellow = Egyptian soliders.
White = Hebrews.
Pink = Sheep.
Exodus Steps is intended as an engaging way for families to explore the biblical narrative of Exodus. The show’s tone was carefully pitched to be witty and playful whilst retaining a strong sense of respect forthe story’s sacred origins, much as our last show, The Cardinals did when it dealt with the whole bible story from a Christian perspective.
Photo Credit: Stans Cafe
Photo Credit: BeBe Jacobs courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center
Devised by: Simon Ford and James Yarker
Design by: Simon Ford
Installed by: Simon Ford & James Yarker with Kiki Johnson and Cris Capp
Stan’s Cafe Management: Charlotte Martin
Commissioned by: Skirball Cultural Center
Made possible by an anonymous donor and Art Works.
Stan’s Cafe would like to thank the anonymous donor for their continued support of Stan’s Cafe’s collaboration with Skirball Cultural Center, it is very much appreciated.
We would also like to thank at Skirball: Jordan Peimer and Amina Sanchez for inviting us.
Kasia Gondek for sorting so much of the logistics for us.
Mia and Nikki their work promoting the show.
Rosalie for organising the teacher workshop.
The Museum Department for allowing us to use their den, their kit, their corridor and their patience.
The Cleaning, Maintenance and Security teams for their unflagging help, indulgence and friendliness.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, as they will help visitors to bring the show to life:
The front of house team and docents. We hope the show gives you all fun
You all made us feel very welcome and made a big job possible in six days.
We would also like to commiserate with Denise who was unavoidably detained in the Midlands: we are sorry you couldn’t make it.
Skirball’s asked their Facebook friends to share their favourite Skirball moments:
So many fun summer nights of music and Houdini exhibit and children’s illustrator exhibit (loved the photo booth) Noah’s ark the first time and every time since but the best memory for me was the kids interest and engagement in the Passover story with the vinyl wall clingsJenni Klemp
Exodus Steps is an interactive journey through the museum, and it is simultaneously so simple and so clever that it’s bound to win over every member of the family. The nine-year-old I tore away from his Wii to check it out was intent on NOT enjoying himself, and yet Exodus Steps had him charmed and engaged in spite of himself in, literally, a few steps.Mommy Poppins – Get more out of LA with kids