WHYY: 'Underground' Brings Dostoevsky to Pandemic-era Philadelphia

“EgoPo’s version, Underground, reimagines Dostoevsky’s Underground Man as a Black Philadelphian living through COVID-19 and the summer of George Floyd protests, with some shadowy connection to the 1985 MOVE bombing that occurred shortly before he went underground.

Now, after 35 years, the Underground Man is making contact with the outside world… through an anonymous blog.

‘Coming from an African American man’s perspective, there’s a certain mantle that we should pick up for the next generation to do better than we did,’ said Damien J. Wallace, EgoPo’s current artist-in-residence, who helped create and stars in the performance. ‘He didn’t do that, and he felt like he paid a heavy price for it. He was living that price, and now he’s trying to fix it.’

He said his version of Underground Man is a peek into the psyche of a Black man ‘living in a capitalist society that was not necessarily constructed for his success.’ Wallace brings his own anger and vulnerability to the character.”


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