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Exploring what if Du Bois met Wharton

By Hannah Shirley

What would have happened if W.E.B. Du Bois and Edith Wharton, two of the Berkshires’ greatest minds, had met in 1910 and been able to see each other without race? That’s the question Brooklyn playwright Emily DeVoti asks in her play, ‘Beyond the Veil.’

A stage reading of ‘Beyond the Veil’ will be performed by Shakespeare and Co. at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center as part of the W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival. The stage reading will be free and open to the public.

DeVoti said though she wrote her play in the 90s, and it has been read in other theaters, she is particularly excited to have her play read in Great Barrington for the first time.

“I’ve read so much about Du Bois that when I walk through Great Barrington, I feel him everywhere,” DeVoti said. “It’s so deeply his hometown.”

DeVoti, who grew up in Sheffield, said she never learned about DuBois in school, and didn’t hear of him until she read Du Bois’ ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ in an American Studies class in college.

“It made me ask questions such as, why had I never heard of him before?” DeVoti said. “What would happen if he met all the other people who were prominent in his day? What would happen if he was part of the cultural legacy of the Berkshires?”


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