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The Piano Lesson
Transcript of The Piano Lesson
Doaker Charles - Uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie
Boy Willie - Brother of Berniece
Winning Boy - Doakers brother
Berniece - Sister of Boy Willie
Avery - Preacher who loves Berniece
Lymon - Friend of Boy Willie also the one who falls in love with Berniece
Maretha - Daughter of Berniece
Grace - Friend/Lover of Boy Willie
While Boy Willie and Lymon tried to find ways to sell the watermelons, Boy Willie also intendeed to sell the family piano, and then use half of the money to buy Sutter's land, the land his ancestors once worked as slaves. As Berniece warns Boy Willie not to take the piano out of her house, she also reminds him of the legacy of the piano. The last scene of the play consists of getting rid of the spirit of Sutter. While Avery, the preacher, tries to cast the spirit out of the house, Berniece plays the piano for the first time and Boy Willie try’s to fight it. A calm soon fell over the house and Boy Willie stopped trying to sell the piano and went back home.
Summary of Play
Earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson
Genre, Theme, and Symbolism
Genre - Drama
The Piano Lesson
By August Wilson
Theatre III Honors Project
The play, “The Piano Lesson,” by August Wilson, took place in Mississippi at Berniece’s house. The action of the play began when Berniece’s brother, Boy Willie, and his friend Lymon, visited Pittsburgh with a truck load of watermelons. Not only did they want to sell the watermelons, but they also came to try to sell the piano that was once, their mothers’, Mama Ola, who is now dead. There were numerous times when Berniece tried to kick them out of her house, but they didn’t leave. The family members that stayed at the house continuously saw Sutter’s ghost, who is dead, around the house, but never acknowledge it.
Honors III Project
Some of the characters in the play are round characters and some are flat character.
Characters that become round characters throughout the play ard Doaker Charles, Boy Willie, and Berniece.
Doaker Charles - makes morally correct choices and wise choices. Charles has a motivation to protect the piano and to do what is right.
Boy Willie - a round character
Berniece - is a round character
Beginning - she cares so much about this piano – didn’t play piano
End – using her knowledge, and overcoming the fear of playing the piano
Avery is a round character
Beginning – he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life
Middle/end – he realized that he wanted to be a preacher
The other characters in the play are flat, and this means that they do not change throughout the play, they stay the same.
A theme that is portrayed in majority of the play is the memory/historical legacy.
While Berniece admires the legacy behind the piano and continues to not touch the piano in fear of the spirits of her ancestors waking up, Boy Willie doesn’t care much about the legacy and he only wants to sell the piano and gain the money to receive Sutter’s land.
An obvious symbol is the piano, because of the legacy from the ancestors and the significance of the carvings on it.
Also won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Fences
August Wilson (April 27, 1945 to October 2, 2005)
His name was originally Frederick August Kittel Jr., but he soon changed it to August Wilson once he became a writer.
Wilson has impacted the world of theatre by co-finding, with his friend, Rob Penny, the Black Horizon Theater.
The Piano Lesson
King Hedley II
Gem of the Ocean
Importance of The Piano Lesson
August Wilson began writing this play by playing with the many answers concerning the possibility of obtianing a sense of self-worth by denying a persons past.
American play writer Wilson, wrote this play during the 1990's.
This play is an important piece of theatrical work, because it inspired Wilson to write a play that basically featured a strong female character to confront African-American history.