On Cry in the Wilderness’ Conundrum at the Newham Unlocked Online Festival


In a lockdowned theatre of the mind, a man dances with fate across darkness,

Twisting his thoughts through the fire of the truly demonic world he’s endured.

His is a wilderness cry of the sort to which everyone can bare witness.

And yet at a time of war with the air and with reason here is a wound

Hope can cure. As the conundrum of self in Paul Antony Morris’ play


And production finds a scarred Angel breaking through sanity’s web,

Winds secured. Or rather torn and secured as performer Anthony Ofoegbu’s

Entranced, thrashing spirit finds grace in defeat and true beauty, as each skill,

Sense and talent keeps this sanctified struggle bright. In fact more than bright,

For here is a solo supernova, scorching the hole fate devours in order to reshape


And retrace ruined light. Subject to the state, from medicine back to his education,

An inevitable ECT charge in flashing becomes a signal call for repair, in which

The sainted sufferer sees that in the end he is choices, and that he can survive

All that threatens now that the possible thread of a future can be woven at last

To grant care. By retracing his steps, he quickly renegotiates shadow;


Dancing to dispel the sharp darkness and to soften it soon for his touch.

So the man weaves, to blanket the night that until this time commandeered him,

And in which he, as soul’s soldier in fighting for years saw too much.

And felt too much, too, at the careless hands of those others who attacked

And obstructed and who in time sought his end. For here is a childhood


Ransacked amidst experience and its litter, as a black boy wrenched by madness

And crushed by each racists weight lost all sense

                                                                                            Of what he was and could be

Until the Lockdown allowed him to enter the past and to salvage

The best of the self left behind. There is the rub, and there again,

The conundrum: at a time of retreat and secretion here is a chance

To ascend across time. First in this beautifully lit abstract space,

Artfully designed, arranged, filmed, and directed by Morris to show

That our landscapes can be reshaped if we seal

                                                                                           The divisions we feel

In our shattered minds and perceptions, confronting all of those

Who’d condemn as the Coronic claim warps the real. Here, Ofoegbu’s


Strength is our strength as he sucks the sin from us, highlighting the blame

Bred by others at a BLM time, he’s a cause, speaking out for all shades

Who are suffering through this sour with racism seen as an illness

So much more corrosive than chaos beyond or behind each closed door.


The piece has become political, and more musical too, without music


In the accepted sense.  Here, a soundscape is like a breath on the breeze

We’d exhale. As Ofoegbu scales lives and lies and finds the truth of real

Passion, expended by performer, creator and the force in the flag

Hope’s ship sails. For here is the story of one man adrift that suddenly

Becomes every story. Here is grace, danger, anger, prayer and appeal,


Song and skin that a broken heart sings in a voice of both range

And precision, and from an actor who enobles the words of his writer

And what his director’s aims wish to bring; which is a fresh understanding

In us in how we resist all oppression, whether the fault of ourselves

Or those others out to destroy the first race. For the true children of the sun


Are not us, they are the people of colour. It is they who should teach us.

And so they teach us here, with such grace. The conundrum is clear

And can be heard in all rhythms. Ofoegbu and Morris play for us.

In this online festival, in this hope and heart marketplace.

Which fires burn after the ghosts in smoke have receded?


Those of the loves that first made us. It is here in the air,

Words and feeling and in the beauty  of this actor’s stare,

Stance and face.

                                        In the heat to come we’ll all burn


But one feels that this Conundrum will cure us.

But first we must see it. Scour your screens.


Cure finds place.      


David Erdos August 14th 2020
Photo: Florian Bel of Gmni Creative Agency, 2020


Crying in the Wilderness presents: Conundrum

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