Every August the Wharton Salon pops up in the Stables Theatre at the Mount and continues the happy tradition of staging Edith Wharton’s works at her beloved Berkshire home. For this, their fifth season, the company has commissioned adaptations of two of Wharton’s short stories, neither of which has been staged in Lenox before: The Quicksand, adapted by Alison Ragland and directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams, and The Looking Glass, adapted by Elaine Smith and directed by Daniela Varon. These two stories were selected because they represent two very different stages in Wharton’s life as a woman and as a writer.
The Quicksand was first published in 1902, the year Wharton (1862-1937) turned 40 and the year she and her husband took up residence in the newly-built Mount. Already a successful writer but a few years away from the composition and recognition of her major works, at the turn of the 20th century Wharton was entering middle-age trapped in a loveless marriage to a man sinking ever deeper into the clutches of mental illness.