The Piano Lesson - Plume Drama Author:August Wilson August Wilson has already given the American theater such spell-binding plays about the black experience in 20th-century America as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Fences. In his second Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Piano Lesson, Wilson has fashioned his most haunting and dramatic work y... more »et.
At the heart of the play stands the ornately carved upright piano which, as the Charles family's prized, hard-won possession, has been gathering dust in the parlor of Berniece Charles's Pittsburgh home. When Boy Willie, Berniece's exuberant brother, bursts into her life with his dream of buying the same Mississippi land that his family had worked as slaves, he plans to sell their antique piano for the hard cash he needs to stake his future. But Berniece refuses to sell, clinging to the piano as a reminder of the history that is their family legacy. This dilemma is the real "piano lesson," reminding us that blacks are often deprived both of the symbols of their past and of opportunity in the present.« less
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Here we are in Pittsburgh again; this time either the late 1930s or late 1940s. The scene is Doakers house. Doaker is a railroad man. (Sound familiar?) The center of action is an upright piano that is generations old. His niece wont part with it; her brother intends to sell it so that he can take the train back home and buy a farm. (Sound familiar?) If you recognize all this, you must have read Two Trains Running. Let the battle begin. Enter Doakers inebriate, piano playing brother; also a ghost that the entire family sees at one time or another. He wont let them move the piano either. Its the old sot who finally settles the matter.