The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson

Category
Play
Number of Acts:
2 Acts
First Produced:
1987
Genres
Drama
Settings
Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
the hill district, pittsburgh, pennsylvania, 1936
Cast Size
medium
Licensor:
Ideal For
community theater, college, professional
Casting Notes:
Mostly male cast
Includes mature adult, adult, child, young adult characters

Synopsis

The Piano Lesson is the fourth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. It takes place in 1936 and centers around a family, more specifically, a brother and a sister. Boy Willie shows up at his sister Berniece’s home after having recently been let out of prison in Mississippi. Right away we see that he is trouble, and he and his sister Berniece begin arguing from the moment he shows up at her door. Boy Willie soon reveals that he is here to take their family’s old piano and sell it in order buy back the land that their family had worked as slaves, but Berniece refuses to give it up. We see them grapple with the question of past vs. future as Boy Willie attempts to take ownership over their family history while Berniece fights to keep her family’s legacy alive.  All the while, the piano acts as a constant reminder of the many ghosts of the past, good and bad, that haunt the lives of t


Characters

Male

Lead

Spoken

Male

Lead

Spoken

Male

Lead

Spoken



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