Leaving Egypt tells the story of an Appalachian family in 1969 facing the loss of their ancestral homeplace. The characters are a grandfather, who follows the old ways and is a master spinner of tales; a granddaughter recently returned to the mountains from hard times in a big mid-western city; and a nephew just back from combat duty in Vietnam.
Woven into the story are eight original songs accompanied by guitar and fiddle. The music ranges from the driving rhythm of the rock and roll, "The Law is Right," to the soulful mountain ballad, "Promised Land."
Leaving Egypt is the third play in Roadside's Pine Mountain Trilogy, which also includes Pretty Polly and South of the Mountain. The Trilogy takes its name from the setting of the three plays, the 110 mile-long Pine Mountain that divides east Kentucky from southwest Virginia. This once isolated area of the Appalachians was one of the last pockets of the U.S. frontier.
From the arrival of the first European settlers to the Vietnam War era, each play in the Trilogy looks at a distinct period of time through the eyes of an Appalachian family. Roadside often works with historical material to illuminate current circumstances. The Trilogy is part of the body of Roadside’s work that presents a radically different version of the region's history than that published under the auspices of the coal companies.