Notes: The World Beyond the Hill: the Life and Times of W.E.B. Du Bois


Director’s Notes:

This is the ninth show we have done in the three years of the high school. In the past we have done shows based on interviews with members of the community (People Talk), anthology material (Animalia), original work by students (The Tennis Court Oath Daytime Drama Spectacle Parade), as well as combinations of plays, and plays that involve formal language. This show has elements of each of these, either in forming the material or in discovering the action of the play.

A kid from Great Barrington graduates from the top of his class and goes on to become one of the great thinkers and activists of our time. He is the town’s first river advocate, writes twenty-three books and thousands of articles, in varying styles and genres, and makes significant contributions to the fields of sociology and philosophy. He lays the groundwork for the civil rights movement and is consulted by leaders of movements and nations. He is black and outspoken, and naturally falls afoul of the Joe McCarthys and J. Edgar Hoovers of the time. He is hounded and blacklisted, discredited to such an extent that even his own hometown remains largely mute about its preeminent native son.

I remember my first arrival in the Berkshires by bus, passing a small sign about DuBois near a grove of trees. I never found the sign again, and thought it must have been my imagination, until I was asked to join the school’s celebration of his work. Since then many of us have begun to see traces of DuBois everywhere, patiently revealed by a small number of people who have long cherished his memory. If we can share a small part of the bittersweet joy of this discovery, that will count as a good thing.

Directors Notes

Director’s Notes

This is our seventh production in this theater, in what still feels like our new high school. For the most part, we have put on plays-which-are-not-really-plays. In most plays you find on the shelf, only two or three characters are on stage at any given time, and they are usually the same people. Since this isn’t much fun for everybody else in the play, we have been looking for ways to get more people on the stage more of the time. One way to do this is to draw bits of material from a variety of sources, get everybody on stage to play with the different pieces, and create dramatic collages that are imagistic rather than character- or plot-driven.

This time we’ve taken excerpts from three full-length plays. The Fever, by Wally Shawn, is a monologue in which a man visiting a poor country, unable to sleep one night, realizes for the first time that the things he most loves in life are available to him only because of the labor and poverty of most other people. In the Blood, by the remarkable young playwright Suzan Lori-Parks, shows the life of a woman and her five illegitimate children who live under a bridge in a large city. Scenes from American Life, by A.R. Gurney, Jr., is a series of very short comedy vignettes about the decline of an aristocratic clan in Buffalo, NY.

Animalia: A New Ark Anthology

Stockbridge – Berkshire Country Day School’s new secondary school (BCD2S) will present a new play, ANIMALIA: A NEW ARK ANTHOLOGY, on December 7 at 1 P.M. and on December 8 at 8 PM.

The performances will be held at the Winthrop Campus on Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute property on  Route 183, two miles north of BCD’s main campus. The Winthrop Campus is the current home of BCD2S.

ANIMALIA: A NEW ARK ANTHOLOGY is a collage of scenes, monologues, and cartoons derived from sou0rces as divergent as Kafka, Saroyan, The Far Side, Thurber, Atwood, Schweitzer, Neruda, Beckett and the Bible. The various pieces are brought together by live sounds and music, lights and artistic design, conceived and executed by the students of BCD2S. The play, which involves almost half the student body and several faculty members, is orchestrated by John Hadden, head of the Theater Program.

The public is warmly invited to attend this inaugural production of the new high school. There is no charge for admission.