A comic figure, he functions as one of the play's primary storytellers, recounting anecdotes from his travels, glory days, and the family history. Lymon and Willie walk into the room after a watermelon sale. In the mid-19th century, a mute woman is sent to New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, … Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, The Piano Lesson follows the lives of the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, which is decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor. He tries to portray the image of a successful musician and gambler, but his music and attire are extremely dated. in-depth analysis of Berniece. Act 2, Scenes 3–5 He tries desperately to help her find her path and supports her through her pain. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The Piano Lesson Characters. They ask Wining Boy to play the piano, but instead he explains that being seen as nothing more than a piano player became a burden. She blames her brother for her husband's death, remaining skeptical of his bravado and chiding him for his rebellious ways. The wife was happy with the piano but missed having the slaves, so Sutter had that family's husband/father (who was a carpenter and too valuable to sell), carve their likenesses on the piano. Berniece appears with Crawley's gun, leading Doaker and Avery to urge them to talk it through first. They have brought a truck of watermelons to sell. [14] On April 23, the Off-Broadway production was recognized with Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play and with two Distinguished Performance Award nominations,[15] but failed to win any awards. Rather than looking upon his past and accepting it, Boy Willie finds the constant need to prove himself as equal to the white man. Willie declares that these are stories of the past and that the piano should now be put to good use. Join Now Auditions & Jobs. Lymon. "The Piano Lesson" premiered in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Berniece: The 35-year-old mother of Maretha, Berniece symbolizes the guardian of her ancestors' past. Willie insists that he will convince her. She plays the beginning of a few simple tunes, and he answers her song with a boogie-woogie. Wining Boy is one of the most memorable characters of the play. The Piano Lesson (TV Movie 1995) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Berniece is one tough cookie. Since she is not a member of the Charles family, the tension she feels in the last scene of Act Two demonstrates how strong the presence of the ancestral ghosts are in the Charles household. 4 pages at 400 words per page) View a FREE sample. The Piano Lesson - Play. Detailed Summary & Analysis The Setting Act 1, Scene 1 Act 1, Scene 2 Act 2, Scene 1 Act 2, Scene 2 Act 2, Scene 3 Act 2, Scene 4 Act 2, Scene 5 Themes All Themes Racism and Self-determination Spirituality and the Supernatural Grief, Hope, and History Love, Relationships, and … Maretha also allows experimentation among the future progeny of the Charles family, leading observations regarding the best way to pass down family history. Based on his/her attributes, we recommend you consider these audition pieces! Also not related to the Charles family, Avery often offers advice to Berniece in an effort to help her let go of the fears of her past and the lingering mourning of her husband. Obsessed with women, he will also appear prominently in his seduction of Berniece, where he helps bring her out of her mourning for her dead husband. Characters Map for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. What The Piano Lesson finally seems to ask is: "What do you do with your legacy, and how do you best put it to use?"[2]. Berniece's brash, impulsive, and fast-talking brother. The thirty-year-old Boy Willie introduces the central conflict of the play. Much like her brother, Boy Willie, she's not afraid to call it like... Doaker. Thirty-eight years old, he is honest and ambitious, having "taken to the city like a fish to water," and found opportunities unavailable to him in the rural South. He may maintain a neutral view of whether the piano should be kept or sold, but he does prevent Boy Willie from taking the piano and bolting without Berniece's knowledge. Suggested Audition Pieces Auditioning for Doaker? The Piano Lesson Characters . The Piano Lesson Character Analysis | LitCharts. Boy Willie. While Boy Willie represents an opposing figure to their father Boy Charles by wanting to be a property owning man, Berniece draws similarities to her mother Mama Ola who never seemed to recover from the mourning of her husband either. She figures as the guardian of the family's past. Directed by Jane Campion. Study Guide Navigation; About The Piano Lesson; The Piano Lesson Summary; Character List; Glossary; Themes; Quotes and Analysis; Summary And Analysis. Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway), Production Stage Manager: Maureen F. Gibson, Location: Huntington Theatre Company in Boston (. Although The Piano Lesson is a play and has no narrator, it is worth noting that much of the family's history and insight into other characters' motivation is provided by the two older characters in the play, Doaker and Wining Boy Charles, the uncles of the two main characters. [19], Dirden won a 2013 Obie Award for Performance on May 20, while Santiago-Hudson won one for Direction. Finally, the house is led to a calm aura, and Willie leaves. Berniece, the sister, fiercely protects the piano from being sold. The Piano Lesson is the fourth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. Avery moves north once Berniece's husband dies in an attempt to court Berniece. With Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Carl Gordon, Tommy Hollis. On September 30, 2020, it was announced that Denzel Washington is planning a new film adaptation for Netflix. He does not speak brashly and attempts to escape the law by staying in the North and starting a new life. By August Wilson. Unable to understand the importance of keeping one's legacy around one to understand and grow from it, Boy Willie only concerns himself with labels and capital. We can consider the profusion of music in the play as pedagogical exercises on the Charles family legacy. A number of the play's songs function as "documents," evoking particular moments in the family history—the Parchman Prison Farm song is an prime example. Doaker says he saw the ghost of Sutter before Berniece, sitting by the piano.Doaker thinks he should just get rid of it, but Wining Boy agrees with Berniece and doesn’t care what a ghost thinks. Generations earlier, Sutter, their family's slave-owner, broke up a family by selling a mother and child to pay for the piano which he bought for his wife as an anniversary present. At the heart of The Piano Lesson is a brother and sister couple at war over the question of using the family legacy. [1] However, on finishing his play, Wilson found the ending to stray from the empowered female character as well as from the question regarding self-worth. Sutter's presence as a ghost is suddenly revived. Maretha's encounters with ghosts are approached without Berniece's liking. [18] On May 7, the show earned a Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance to be presented on June 3. Production Stage Manager: Karen L. Carpenter, 1996 Emmy Award Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series, This page was last edited on 19 November 2020, at 17:58. [16] The production received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. Fervently religious, he brings Christian authority to bear in the exorcism of Sutter's ghost. His use of the legacy comes down to practicality; Willie finds the rich culture of his history engraved on the piano through pictures, blood, and tears to be a simple conversion to money. Wining Boy and Doaker talk in the kitchen when Boy Willie and Lymon enter and claim to have located the piano buyer. 0. Berniece accuses Boy Willie of shoving Sutter down a well, and she asks him to leave. He listens to Doaker's version of the piano story, sympathizes with Boy Willie's desires to sell the piano, and attempts to understand Berniece's connection to the piano. … A sharecropper and recently delivered out of prison from Mississippi, Boy Willie plans to sell the piano and use the earnings to buy the land where his ancestors had formerly toiled. As soon as they try to move it, Sutter's ghost is heard. It takes place in 1936 and centers around a family, more specifically, a brother and a sister. A preacher who is trying to build his congregation. Lymon wants to flee to the North where he will be better treated, while Willie feels that whites only treat blacks badly if the blacks do not try and stop them. Other Characters From The Piano Lesson. Unlike other characters, the stage notes for Berniece are somewhat sparse, describing her as a thirty-five-year-old mother still mourning for her husband, Crawley. Berniece and Boy Willie's uncle and the owner of the household in which the play takes place. Upstairs, Maretha is confronted by the ghosts, and she screams in terror. The dramas take place in a different decade, from the early 1900s until the 1990s. The two kiss, breaking Berniece's discomfort over Crawley's death, and Berniece heads back upstairs. The Piano is a 1993 period drama film written and directed by Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin in her first acting role. To Berniece, the piano represents her father's life, since he died over it, and her mother's toil, since she incessantly asked Berniece to play after his death. He carved likenesses of his entire history on the piano. Print Word PDF. By selling the piano, he avenges his father, Boy Charles, who spent his life property-less. Maretha is beginning to learn piano. Like Wining Boy, the other member of the family's oldest living generation, Doaker offers a connection to the family's past through his stories. 0. She remains the only member of the family to adamantly demand the keepsake of the piano heirloom. [9], A Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie entitled The Piano Lesson aired on CBS on February 5, 1995, starring Charles S. Dutton and Alfre Woodard. Doaker and Wining Boy are again together in the house alone. A tall and thin 47-year-old man, Charles recounts the most detailed parts of his lives with his job on the railroad. An African-American family struggles to retain their heritage, in the form of a history told in the carvings on the family piano. The main conflict in the play is between the main characters Bernice and her brother Boy Willie. The living room and kitchen of Doaker Charles's household. In this last scene, Berniece plays the piano again and fulfills her duty to her family's legacy. August Wilson. Berniece breaks down her story of her mother's tears and blood mingled with her father's soul on the piano and refuses to open her wounds for everyone to see. Jersey Boys New York, NY New York, NY Twelve Angry Men Cheshire, CT Cheshire, CT Pericles Philadelphia, PA … The siblings are arguing over a piano that represents their family heritage. Opened: 16 April 1990. She symbolizes the next generation of the Charles' family, providing the occasion for a number of confrontations on what the family should do with its legacy. Although Berniece teaches her how to play the piano, she does not allow any history of the piano to become apparent to Maretha. Constantly stressing his Christian view on things and advocating his hopes to build a congregation, Avery is aware that Berniece will never sell her piano heirloom. Willie, frustrated, demands that he will sell the piano no matter what. Previous Next . The twenty-nine-year-old Lymon is more taciturn than his partner, speaking with a disarming "straightforwardness." He spent his life working for the railroad. Complete List of Characters in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. A summary of Part X (Section3) in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Finally, Wining Boy also appears as the other character in the play speaks with the dead, conversing with the Ghosts of Yellow Dog and calling to his dead wife, Cleotha. Grace: One of the last figures to be added to the play, Grace shows the desires of both Boy Willie and Lymon. Detailed analysis of Characters in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Maretha comes downstairs, and Willie asks her to play the piano. Doaker confesses that he saw Sutter's ghost playing the piano and feels that Berniece should discard the piano so as to prevent spirits from traumatizing the Charles family. Berniece feels as if the piano should stay in the home rather be sold and it is a family heirloom. 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