He is one of the two older players in Wilson's scenes of male camaraderie, providing a connection to the family's history. Fleeing the law, he plans to stay in the north and begin life anew. She remains the only member of the family to adamantly demand the keepsake of the piano heirloom. Since she does not want to disturb the spirits in the piano, Berniece leaves the piano untouched and does not play it. Doaker and Wining Boy are again together in the house alone. Berniece, the sister, fiercely protects the piano from being sold. Read an Lymon and Willie both gather different perspectives from their experiences. Much like her brother, Boy Willie, she's not afraid to call it like... Doaker. The Piano Lesson Characters . Act 2, Scene 2 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. In the final scene, Avery's blessings on the house help bring Berniece back to her position of communicating between the living and the deceased. SHARE. He carved likenesses of his entire history on the piano. Maretha is beginning to learn piano. Berniece orders them out and opens the door to see Lymon. The next morning, Lymon and Willie try to move the piano out and are stopped by Uncle Doaker. Berniece refuses to listen and walks out. By selling the piano, he avenges his father, Boy Charles, who spent his life property-less. Previous Next . Act 1, Scene 1 Avery then brings up the piano and tells Berniece she should learn to not be afraid of her family's spirits and play it again. Wining Boy and Doaker talk in the kitchen when Boy Willie and Lymon enter and claim to have located the piano buyer. Boy Willie and Lymon arrive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Mississippi and enter the Charles' household at five in the morning. For Wilson, the "piano lesson" allegorizes the lesson on legacy and its uses. Doaker insists that Berniece will not sell the piano, because she refused to sell when Avery brought a buyer to the house. Avery moves north once Berniece's husband dies in an attempt to court Berniece. Wining Boy: The comical figure in The Piano Lesson, the Wining Boy is the 56-year-old elder brother of Doaker Charles. Wilson began writing this play by playing with the various answers regarding the possibility of "acquir[ing] a sense of self-worth by denying one's past". The Piano Lesson - Play. With Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin. [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. Blaming Boy Willie for Crawley's death, Berniece questions Boy Willie's foolish actions more than others. The Piano Lesson study guide contains a biography of August Wilson, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. 0. Later that day as Berniece is preparing for her bath, Avery enters and proposes that Berniece should open up and let go. Willie declares that these are stories of the past and that the piano should now be put to good use. Wining Boy disagrees. [12], On April 3, the production earned 6 2013 Lucille Lortel Award nominations,[13] winning in 4 categories on May 5. Berniece is one tough cookie. 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. Each play explores the lives of African American families. 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. Maretha's encounters with ghosts are approached without Berniece's liking. in-depth analysis of Berniece. 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. The twenty-nine-year-old Lymon is more taciturn than his partner, speaking with a disarming "straightforwardness." The Piano Lesson Introduction + Context. One of the most memorable characters of the play, Wining Boy is a wandering, washed-up recording star who drifts in and out of his brother Doaker's household whenever he finds himself broke. 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. The thirty-year-old Boy Willie introduces the central conflict of the play. Jersey Boys New York, NY New York, NY Twelve Angry Men Cheshire, CT Cheshire, CT Pericles Philadelphia, PA … Boy Willie. Plot Summary. Unlike other characters, the stage notes for Berniece are somewhat sparse, describing her as a thirty-five-year-old mother still in mourning for her husband, Crawley. 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, … Avery . Berniece and Boy Willie's uncle and the owner of the household in which the play takes place. Lymon: Lymon is the 29-year-old friend of Boy Willie and is much more secretive and shy in comparison, however, upon becoming more comfortable with the family, his attitude changes to be a sympathizer who doesn't offer many original opinions. 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. Instead, Boy Willie wakes Berniece's daughter, Maretha, causing Berniece to run back up the stairs where she sees Sutter's ghost. 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. It takes place in 1936 and centers around a family, more specifically, a brother and a sister. Act 2, Scenes 3–5 Lymon is also obsessed with women and plays a large role in allowing Berniece to slowly relieve the mourning of Crawley, her deceased husband. 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 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. Act II, scenes 1 & 2. Berniece enters with Avery, and Willie asks whether she still has the prospective buyer's name, explaining he came to Pittsburgh to sell the piano. 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. Willie insists that he will convince her. [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. Lymon is upset over his inability to woo women and begins to talk about women's virtues to Berniece. Avery's humble personality further emphasizes Berniece's lack of relieving her deceased husband's memory. The Piano Lesson (TV Movie 1995) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Willie refutes her, Berniece blames Crawley's death on Willie, and the two engage in a fight. Berniece tells Willie to stop and informs him that he is selling his soul for money. In 1911, Boy Willie's father stole the piano from the Sutters; in retaliation he was killed. Lymon. [23], https://www.goodmantheatre.org/Artists-Archive/production-timeline/1980-1989/, https://theplaylist.net/piano-lesson-barry-jenkins-samuel-l-jackson-john-david-washington-20201001/.html%7Ctitle=‘Piano, https://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/10/theater/stage-wilson-s-piano-lesson.html, "Lucille Lortel Nominees Include The Flick, Murder Ballad, Jake Gyllenhaal, Vanessa Redgrave", "Nominees Announced for 79th Annual Drama League Awards", "Pippin Is Big Winner of 2012–13 Outer Critics Circle Awards", "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, Pippin, Matilda, Vanya and Sonia Win Drama Desk Awards", "2013 Theatre World Award Winners Announced", "Detroit, Grimly Handsome, Eisa Davis, John Rando, Shuler Hensley and More Are Obie Winners", "Obie Awards Honor 'Detroit' and 'Grimly Handsome, "Off Broadway Alliance Awards Nominees Announced; Christopher Durang, Sigourney Weaver Also Honored", "Natasha, Vanya and Sonia, Closer Than Ever, The Piano Lesson and More Win Off Broadway Alliance Awards", The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Piano_Lesson&oldid=989557090, New York Drama Critics' Circle Award winners, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. August Wilson. 0. An outsider to the family, he functions particularly in the beginning of the play as a sort of listener, eliciting stories from the family's past. She blames her brother for her husband's death, remaining skeptical of his bravado and chiding him for his rebellious ways. The Piano Lesson - Play. Doaker is also one of the only characters that truly understand Berniece's desire not to sell the piano so that the legacy of their family may remain. [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. 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. This section contains 1,272 words (approx. Whenever he ends up bankrupt, he wanders back into the Charles house to retell the days of the glory and fame. However, in the last scene, Berniece finally resumes her role as the middle person between the living and dead. Her relation with her brother further portrays her mourning of her late husband Crawley. Maretha: The 11-year-old daughter of Berniece, Maretha plays the role of the future generation for the Charles family. The The Piano Lesson quotes below are all either spoken by Berniece or refer to Berniece. As soon as they try to move it, Sutter's ghost is heard. Finally, the house is led to a calm aura, and Willie leaves. A tall and thin 47-year-old man, Charles recounts the most detailed parts of his lives with his job on the railroad. The living room and kitchen of Doaker Charles's household. Berniece feels as if the piano should stay in the home rather be sold and it is a family heirloom. Berniece's brash, impulsive, and fast-talking brother. Detailed analysis of Characters in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Boy Willie enters the Charles house with Grace and begins to fool around on the couch. Wining Boy is one of the most memorable characters of the play. Doaker plays the role of the storyteller, giving detailed and long accounts of the piano's history. A wandering, washed-up recording star who drifts in and out of his brother Doaker's household whenever he finds himself broke. In this last scene, Berniece plays the piano again and fulfills her duty to her family's legacy. Doaker then tells the story of the piano's history. He tries desperately to help her find her path and supports her through her pain. [1] The Piano Lesson received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 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 (. 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. 4 pages at 400 words per page) View a FREE sample. Boy Willie: Berniece's impulsive 30-year-old brother represents the lack of accepting one's past. Berniece: The 35-year-old mother of Maretha, Berniece symbolizes the guardian of her ancestors' past. Boy Willie's longtime friend. Maretha also allows experimentation among the future progeny of the Charles family, leading observations regarding the best way to pass down family history. Grace: One of the last figures to be added to the play, Grace shows the desires of both Boy Willie and Lymon. 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. The Piano Lesson debuted as a staged reading at the 1986 National Playwrights Conference held at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. GradeSaver, 31 May 2009 Web. Both Lymon and Willie leave the house in hot pursuit of women. Avery Brown: A 38-year-old preacher who has been attempting to court Berniece ever since the death of Crawley, Avery Brown is a man of honest and good intentions. 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 notices the piano which Willie intends to sell to buy Sutter's land. in-depth analysis of Boy Willie. Instead of wanting to live in the present and the future like his nephew Boy Willie, Wining Boy drowns himself in the sorrows of his past. With Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Carl Gordon, Tommy Hollis. Opened: 16 April 1990. The Piano Lesson is a 1987 play by American playwright August Wilson. 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. Based on his/her attributes, we recommend you consider these audition pieces! Directed by Lloyd Richards. At the heart of The Piano Lesson is a brother and sister couple at war over the question of using the family legacy. A preacher who is trying to build his congregation. Read an The Piano Lesson ; Characters; Study Guide. View All Characters in The Piano Lesson. Doaker Charles: The owner of the Charles household; the uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie. Boy Willie. Willie's uncles warn him that Sutter will cheat him but Boy Willie refuses to listen. To save her daughter from the burdens that Berniece had to endure from playing the piano and helping her mother go through the pain and misery of losing her husband, Berniece refuses to let the spirits of her ancestors come back into her life. Wining Boy has failed to pawn his silk suit for an acceptable price, and tries to get five dollars from Doaker. 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 … Sign up today to unlock amazing theatre resources and opportunities. One of the few characters in this play not related to the members of the Charles household, Lymon offers help and sporadic advice to the other characters. Print Word PDF. Willie and Lymon attempt to move the piano to test its weight. Coming from Mississippi, he plans to sell the family piano and buy the land his ancestors once worked as slaves. Rather than looking upon his past and accepting it, Boy Willie finds the constant need to prove himself as equal to the white man. A tall and thin 47-year-old man, Charles recounts the most detailed parts of his lives with his job on the railroad. It is the fourth play in Wilson's The Pittsburgh Cycle. They have brought a truck of watermelons to sell. His desire to please women and find his soul mate softens Berniece's gaze on crude men and gives him a slight leeway to kiss her. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. A comic figure, he functions as one of the play's primary storytellers, recounting anecdotes from his travels. Join Now Auditions & Jobs. It was also directed by Lloyd Richards. 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. His former days of glory emphasize the submergence of his soul in the past. 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. Act 2, Scene 1 Characters Map for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. 0. The day to move the piano draws closer. In the last scene of the book, after Berniece calls to the ancestors, Boy Willie finally understands that there is no escape from living his ancestral legacy and the only way to benefit from it is to learn from it. Act I, scene 1; Act I, scene 2; Act II, scenes 1 & 2; Act II, scenes 3 & 4; Act II, scene 5; The Ghosts of The Piano Lesson; Related Links ; Essay Questions; … She figures as the guardian of the family's past. 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. The Piano Lesson is the fourth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson is a complex play emphasizing on the African-American family life. Characters Overview; Context; Plot; Characters; Videos; Monologues; Scenes; Quizzes; Portrayals; Related Products; Useful Articles; 8. The two kiss, breaking Berniece's discomfort over Crawley's death, and Berniece heads back upstairs. [20][21] On May 8, the production was nominated for a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play Revival. [19], Dirden won a 2013 Obie Award for Performance on May 20, while Santiago-Hudson won one for Direction. Against Doaker's advice, Boy Willie wakes his sister Berniece, and tells her of Sutter's death. Doaker plays the role of the storyteller, giving detailed and long accounts of the piano's history. [6] Originally playing the role of the messenger between the dead ancestors and the living descendants, Berniece prefers to stop channeling her family's ghosts after her mother's death. The brother, Boy Willie, is a sharecropper who wants to sell the piano to buy the land (Sutter's land) where his ancestors toiled as slaves. Fervently religious, he brings Christian authority to bear in the exorcism of Sutter's ghost. Avery attempts to drive the ghost away with his blessings but is not successful. He tells her that she cannot continue to live her life with Crawley's memory shut inside her. The dramas take place in a different decade, from the early 1900s until the 1990s. Berniece changes the topic and asks Avery to bless the house, hoping to destroy the spirit of the Sutter ghost. Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. in-depth analysis of Wining Boy. The siblings are arguing over a piano that represents their family heritage. He does not speak brashly and attempts to escape the law by staying in the North and starting a new life. Act 1, Scene 2 He lives with his niece Berniece and great-niece Maretha. Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. A summary of Part X (Section3) in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Piano Lesson study guide. 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. The sister, Berniece, remains emphatic about keeping the piano, which shows the carved faces of their great-grandfather's wife and son during the days of their enslavement. 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. She plays the beginning of a few simple tunes, and he answers her song with a boogie-woogie. By August Wilson. Berniece's eleven-year-old daughter. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: ). The play focuses on the arguments between a brother and a sister who have different ideas on what to do with the piano. August Wilson tells us all about his protagonist in his stage directions:Boy Willie is thirty... Berniece. The The Piano Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by community members like you. "The Piano Lesson Characters". Boy Willie shows up at his sister Berniece’s home after having recently been let out of prison in Mississippi. He spent his life working for the railroad. … Upstairs, Maretha is confronted by the ghosts, and she screams in terror. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano and use the money to buy farmland, but sister Berniece won't part with it. Wining Boy is also the only other character, aside from Berniece, who can speak with the dead. Directed by Jane Campion. A list of all the characters in The Piano Lesson. The Piano Lesson Characters. A Romare Bearden painting, The Piano Lesson, inspired Wilson to write a play featuring a strong female character to confront African-American history, paralleling Troy in earlier Fences. Suggested Audition Pieces Auditioning for Doaker? On September 30, 2020, it was announced that Denzel Washington is planning a new film adaptation for Netflix. Maretha comes downstairs, and Willie asks her to play the piano. Doaker Charles: The owner of the Charles household; the uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie. Wining Boy sells his suit and shoes to Lymon, promising its swooning effects on women. 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. Sister of Boy Willie. Suddenly, Berniece knows that she must play the piano again as a plea to her ancestors. The Piano Lesson Character Analysis | LitCharts. 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. The Piano Lesson guide sections. Sutter's presence as a ghost is suddenly revived. Excited to sell the piano, Willie quickly partakes on his actions without a care of his sister's words. The film is based on the novel, The Story of a New Zealand River, by Jane Mander. He lives with his niece Berniece and great-niece Maretha. "The Piano Lesson" premiered in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. He speaks to the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog and to his deceased wife, Cleotha. Other Characters From The Piano Lesson. He tries to portray the image of a successful musician and gambler, but his music and attire are extremely dated. 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