Act 2, Scenes 3–5 Characters include:Doaker Charles ,Boy Willie ,Lymon,Berniece ,Maretha and more [16] The production received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Grace: One of the last figures to be added to the play, Grace shows the desires of both Boy Willie and Lymon. She remains the only member of the family to adamantly demand the keepsake of the piano heirloom. The Piano Lesson ; Characters; 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. Fleeing the law, he plans to stay in the north and begin life anew. View All Characters in The Piano Lesson. Both Lymon and Willie leave the house in hot pursuit of women. Lymon and Willie both gather different perspectives from their experiences. Doaker plays the role of the storyteller, giving detailed and long accounts of the piano's history. The Piano Lesson study guide contains a biography of August Wilson, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The dramas take place in a different decade, from the early 1900s until the 1990s. Doaker and Wining Boy are again together in the house alone. Whenever he ends up bankrupt, he wanders back into the Charles house to retell the days of the glory and fame. Read an His former days of glory emphasize the submergence of his soul in the past. Wining Boy is one of the most memorable characters of the play. Although Berniece teaches her how to play the piano, she does not allow any history of the piano to become apparent to Maretha. 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. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson is a complex play emphasizing on the African-American family life. Berniece changes the topic and asks Avery to bless the house, hoping to destroy the spirit of the Sutter ghost. This production first premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago with this cast. The Piano Lesson is the fourth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle. [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. 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. Boy Willie: Berniece's impulsive 30-year-old brother represents the lack of accepting one's past. Berniece is one tough cookie. Doaker then tells the story of the piano's history. Boy Willie shows up at his sister Berniece’s home after having recently been let out of prison in Mississippi. 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". Berniece's brash, impulsive, and fast-talking brother. 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. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano and use the money to buy farmland, but sister Berniece won't part with it. The film is based on the novel, The Story of a New Zealand River, by Jane Mander. 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. [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. He tries to portray the image of a successful musician and gambler, but his music and attire are extremely dated. [12], On April 3, the production earned 6 2013 Lucille Lortel Award nominations,[13] winning in 4 categories on May 5. It takes place in 1936 and centers around a family, more specifically, a brother and a sister. … 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. 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, … At the heart of The Piano Lesson is a brother and sister couple at war over the question of using the family legacy. 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. Wining Boy has failed to pawn his silk suit for an acceptable price, and tries to get five dollars from Doaker. The various members of an African-American family in the 1930s strive to overcome the past. 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. The Piano Lesson debuted as a staged reading at the 1986 National Playwrights Conference held at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. The twenty-nine-year-old Lymon is more taciturn than his partner, speaking with a disarming "straightforwardness." Sign up today to unlock amazing theatre resources and opportunities. 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. Lymon and Willie walk into the room after a watermelon sale. 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: The comical figure in The Piano Lesson, the Wining Boy is the 56-year-old elder brother of Doaker Charles. Directed by Jane Campion. 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. Study Guide Navigation; About The Piano Lesson; The Piano Lesson Summary; Character List; Glossary; Themes; Quotes and Analysis; Summary And Analysis. They have brought a truck of watermelons to sell. Read an Characters Map for August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Willie declares that these are stories of the past and that the piano should now be put to good use. He tells her that she cannot continue to live her life with Crawley's memory shut inside her. 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; … Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. 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. The day to move the piano draws closer. It was also directed by Lloyd Richards. The siblings are arguing over a piano that represents their family heritage. 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. A tall and thin 47-year-old man, Charles recounts the most detailed parts of his lives with his job on the railroad. The Piano Lesson Character Analysis | LitCharts. 4 pages at 400 words per page) View a FREE sample. The play focuses on the arguments between a brother and a sister who have different ideas on what to do with the piano. He functions as the play's testifier, recounting the piano's history. Lymon is upset over his inability to woo women and begins to talk about women's virtues to Berniece. The Piano Lesson - Play. The Piano Lesson guide sections. He lives with his niece Berniece and great-niece Maretha. [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. Based on his/her attributes, we recommend you consider these audition pieces! In 1911, Boy Willie's father stole the piano from the Sutters; in retaliation he was killed. in-depth analysis of Wining Boy. Avery's humble personality further emphasizes Berniece's lack of relieving her deceased husband's memory. [17] The play earned three 58th Drama Desk Award nominations. August Wilson. This section contains 1,272 words (approx. Read an Berniece's eleven-year-old daughter. Doaker is singing in the kitchen. 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. A tall and thin 47-year-old man, Charles recounts the most detailed parts of his lives with his job on the railroad. Wining Boy disagrees. Sutter's presence as a ghost is suddenly revived. Much like her brother, Boy Willie, she's not afraid to call it like... Doaker. 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. "The Piano Lesson" premiered in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. She did not feel the need to rearrange her ancestors' past and instead embraced it. 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. 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. Directed by Lloyd Richards. Boy Willie's longtime friend. Willie refutes her, Berniece blames Crawley's death on Willie, and the two engage in a fight. Act 2, Scene 1 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. He lives with his niece Berniece and great-niece Maretha. For Wilson, the "piano lesson" allegorizes the lesson on legacy and its uses. 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. 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. Berniece. Maretha's encounters with ghosts are approached without Berniece's liking. With Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin. He speaks to the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog and to his deceased wife, Cleotha. Learn everything you need to know about Berniece, Boy Willie, and more in The Piano Lesson. Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. [19], Dirden won a 2013 Obie Award for Performance on May 20, while Santiago-Hudson won one for Direction. A summary of Part X (Section3) in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Boy Willie. However, in the last scene, Berniece finally resumes her role as the middle person between the living and dead. The next morning, Lymon and Willie try to move the piano out and are stopped by Uncle Doaker. Her relation with her brother further portrays her mourning of her late 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 tries desperately to help her find her path and supports her through her pain. She plays the beginning of a few simple tunes, and he answers her song with a boogie-woogie. [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. Maretha comes downstairs, and Willie asks her to play the piano. With Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Carl Gordon, Tommy Hollis. Doaker is tall and thin and forty-seven years old. 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. He does not speak brashly and attempts to escape the law by staying in the North and starting a new life. Boy Willie enters the Charles house with Grace and begins to fool around on the couch. 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. Doaker Charles: The owner of the Charles household; the uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie. Lymon is also obsessed with women and plays a large role in allowing Berniece to slowly relieve the mourning of Crawley, her deceased husband. An African-American family struggles to retain their heritage, in the form of a history told in the carvings on the family piano. Act 2, Scene 2 in-depth analysis of Boy Willie. As soon as they try to move it, Sutter's ghost is heard. Since she does not want to disturb the spirits in the piano, Berniece leaves the piano untouched and does not play it. Print Word PDF. Berniece feels as if the piano should stay in the home rather be sold and it is a family heirloom. 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. 0. 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. in-depth analysis of Berniece. Avery attempts to drive the ghost away with his blessings but is not successful. The Piano Lesson Introduction + Context. A young, urban woman whom Boy Willie and Lymon each try to pick up. By August Wilson. The two kiss, breaking Berniece's discomfort over Crawley's death, and Berniece heads back upstairs. The Piano Lesson - Play. 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. 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. 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