By selling the piano, he avenges his father, Boy Charles, who spent his life property-less. Maretha: The 11-year-old daughter of Berniece, Maretha plays the role of the future generation for the Charles family. "The Piano Lesson Characters". The living room and kitchen of Doaker Charles's household. Excited to sell the piano, Willie quickly partakes on his actions without a care of his sister's words. She remains the only member of the family to adamantly demand the keepsake of the piano heirloom. Maretha also allows experimentation among the future progeny of the Charles family, leading observations regarding the best way to pass down family history. 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. 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 twenty-nine-year-old Lymon is more taciturn than his partner, speaking with a disarming "straightforwardness." [1] The Piano Lesson received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Boy Willie's longtime friend. 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. Berniece is one tough cookie. [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. 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. Berniece's brash, impulsive, and fast-talking brother. A summary of Part X (Section3) in August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Opened: 16 April 1990. Willie declares that these are stories of the past and that the piano should now be put to good use. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The story behind Lymon and Boy Willie's term in Parchman Prison Farm is revealed. Wining Boy: The comical figure in The Piano Lesson, the Wining Boy is the 56-year-old elder brother of Doaker Charles. For Wilson, the "piano lesson" allegorizes the lesson on legacy and its uses. She did not feel the need to rearrange her ancestors' past and instead embraced it. Willie, frustrated, demands that he will sell the piano no matter what. Lymon notices the piano which Willie intends to sell to buy Sutter's land. In 1911, Boy Willie's father stole the piano from the Sutters; in retaliation he was killed. in-depth analysis of Boy Willie. Sign up today to unlock amazing theatre resources and opportunities. Previous Next . The next morning, Lymon and Willie try to move the piano out and are stopped by Uncle Doaker. 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. Read an Berniece. Lymon and Willie walk into the room after a watermelon sale. 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. Against Doaker's advice, Boy Willie wakes his sister Berniece, and tells her of Sutter's death. Lymon is also obsessed with women and plays a large role in allowing Berniece to slowly relieve the mourning of Crawley, her deceased husband. 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. Act 1, Scene 1 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. [17] The play earned three 58th Drama Desk Award nominations. Boy Willie. August Wilson. Avery moves north once Berniece's husband dies in an attempt to court Berniece. in-depth analysis of Wining Boy. Although Berniece teaches her how to play the piano, she does not allow any history of the piano to become apparent to Maretha. On September 30, 2020, it was announced that Denzel Washington is planning a new film adaptation for Netflix. Sister of Boy Willie. Lymon and Willie both gather different perspectives from their experiences. Berniece feels as if the piano should stay in the home rather be sold and it is a family heirloom. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Piano Lesson and what it means. Doaker plays the role of the storyteller, giving detailed and long accounts of the piano's history. Suggested Audition Pieces Auditioning for Doaker? Learn everything you need to know about Berniece, Boy Willie, and more in The Piano Lesson. Berniece: The 35-year-old mother of Maretha, Berniece symbolizes the guardian of her ancestors' past. 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. Finally, the house is led to a calm aura, and Willie leaves. Berniece and Boy Willie's uncle and the owner of the household in which the play takes place. 0. 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. Read an The Piano Lesson Characters . Wining Boy is one of the most memorable characters of the play. [19], Dirden won a 2013 Obie Award for Performance on May 20, while Santiago-Hudson won one for Direction. Berniece appears with Crawley's gun, leading Doaker and Avery to urge them to talk it through first. He speaks to the Ghosts of the Yellow Dog and to his deceased wife, Cleotha. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The film is based on the novel, The Story of a New Zealand River, by Jane Mander. 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 … 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. Wining Boy has failed to pawn his silk suit for an acceptable price, and tries to get five dollars from Doaker. Cite this page. 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. Boy Willie and Lymon arrive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Mississippi and enter the Charles' household at five in the morning. 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. GradeSaver, 31 May 2009 Web. She plays the beginning of a few simple tunes, and he answers her song with a boogie-woogie. Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. 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. Filming is expected to begin Summer 2021 in Pittsburgh.[3]. As soon as they try to move it, Sutter's ghost is heard. This section contains 1,272 words (approx. Doaker is singing in the kitchen. 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 main conflict in the play is between the main characters Bernice and her brother Boy Willie. Wining Boy disagrees. Directed by Jane Campion. in-depth analysis of Berniece. Berniece accuses Boy Willie of shoving Sutter down a well, and she asks him to leave. Doaker plays the role of the storyteller, giving detailed and long accounts of the piano's history. 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. At the heart of The Piano Lesson is a brother and sister couple at war over the question of using the family legacy. Each play explores the lives of African American families. Willie insists that he will convince her. Wining Boy sells his suit and shoes to Lymon, promising its swooning effects on women. The day to move the piano draws closer. Wining Boy and Doaker talk in the kitchen when Boy Willie and Lymon enter and claim to have located the piano buyer. Instead, Boy Willie wakes Berniece's daughter, Maretha, causing Berniece to run back up the stairs where she sees Sutter's ghost. [20][21] On May 8, the production was nominated for a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play Revival. The Piano Lesson ; Characters; Study Guide. She figures as the guardian of the family's past. His former days of glory emphasize the submergence of his soul in the past. Wining Boy is also the only other character, aside from Berniece, who can speak with the dead. [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. This production first premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago with this cast. Other Characters From The Piano Lesson. 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 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. The Piano Lesson is a 1987 play by American playwright August Wilson. With Charles S. Dutton, Alfre Woodard, Carl Gordon, Tommy Hollis. Her relation with her brother further portrays her mourning of her late husband Crawley. The thirty-year-old Boy Willie introduces the central conflict of the play. He tells her that she cannot continue to live her life with Crawley's memory shut inside her. Avery . 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. 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. View All Characters in The Piano Lesson. Lymon. 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. Doaker Charles: The owner of the Charles household; the uncle of Berniece and Boy Willie. 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. Act II, scenes 1 & 2. Boy Willie shows up at his sister Berniece’s home after having recently been let out of prison in Mississippi. Upstairs, Maretha is confronted by the ghosts, and she screams in terror. Boy Willie enters the Charles house with Grace and begins to fool around on the couch. Doaker insists that Berniece will not sell the piano, because she refused to sell when Avery brought a buyer to the house. 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 (. The Piano Lesson (TV Movie 1995) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. [22] It was announced as the winner on May 21. Coming from Mississippi, he plans to sell the family piano and buy the land his ancestors once worked as slaves. 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. Willie's uncles warn him that Sutter will cheat him but Boy Willie refuses to listen. Due to his old age, his connection to the past is expressed through his stories. Learn all about how the characters in The Piano Lesson such as Berniece and Boy Willie contribute to … Both Lymon and Willie leave the house in hot pursuit of women. 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. Doaker is tall and thin and forty-seven years old. "The Piano Lesson" is part of August Wilson's cycle of 10 plays known as the Pittsburg Cycle. The Piano Lesson Characters. He carved likenesses of his entire history on the piano. 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