Book Notes: August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson

[This is a play I read for my online book club. It’s a Twitter book club for a small group of teachers from all over the world who love Great Books. We come together to talk about what constitutes a canon and read canonical books. If you are a teacher and are interested, email me and I’ll hook you up with a .pdf of the play and the instructions on how to join.]

I never heard about August Wilson before this club. But I’m really glad I now know this great writer. The Piano Lesson premiered at Yale Rep in 1987 with Samuel L. Jackson in the leading male role. In 1990, it opened on Broadway with S. Epatha Merkerson (later of Law & Order fame) in the leading female part. I don’t think Jackson and Merkerson ever came together in this play but I imagined both of them when I was reading and that really enhanced the experience. I now found out there’s a movie with Courtney B. Vance (who I think is an artistic genius) starring as Lymon, so I will definitely be watching it.

The play is brilliant, friends. I was reading it at the hairdresser’s and almost started bawling right in the chair. A brilliant, brilliant play. I now want to drop everything and go to a theater. Good thing theaters are closed, I guess.

Highly recommended.

4 thoughts on “Book Notes: August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson”

  1. I have seen August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson twice at Delaware Theatre Company. It is indeed brilliant. The historical backstory makes the play even more interesting. (Delaware Theatre Company is our local professional theatre company, and yes, they use the British spelling.) Wilson has written several other amazing plays.


  2. Funny about modern fiction:

    Добрый день, Джеймс!
    Рады сообщить вам, что наше издательство планирует напечатать ваш роман. Должны отметить, что вы невероятно талантливы и вас ждет большое будущее в литературе.Однако, есть важное требование. Вы должны изменить пол главного героя. Сейчас очень актуален образ сильной женщины.
    С уважением, Л. Саммерс.
    Добрый день, Линда.
    Как вы и просили я изменил пол главного героя. Теперь это женщина. Так же изменил любовную линию. Теперь главного героя, во время экспедиции на северный полюс дома ждет Стивен – верный муж.
    Джеймс Мороу.


  3. Here’s The Piano Lesson, televised with Courtney B. Vance as Lymon and Alfre Woodard as Berniece:

    -You should probably find a recording of the play staged as a play.


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