Home Leisure & Sports Kennie Playhouse Theatre presents The Piano Lesson Feb 22 – Mar 10

Kennie Playhouse Theatre presents The Piano Lesson Feb 22 – Mar 10

by PRIDE Newsdesk

“The Piano Lesson” is a 1987 play by American playwright August Wilson. It concerns the struggle of two siblings over a precious family heirloom, a piano carved with images of their African ancestors and crafted by their enslaved grandfather. The Great Depression serves as the historical backdrop to the play as well as Black migration during this period from south to north.

Kennie Playhouse Theatre presents The Piano Lesson February 26 through March 10 at Z. Alexander Looby Theater, 2301 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville TN 37228. You are invited to join the artists for their opening night Red-Carpet Reception on Saturday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m.

Director Kenny Dozier has assembled a noteworthy array of talent to bring this story to life in a new and vibrant way. It features Clark Harris (Doaker), Keisha Renaye Cunningham (Berniece), Joel Diggs (Boy Willie), Queen Washington (Maretha), Kenny Dozier (Avery), Yolonda “Yolo Bee” Beech (Grace), Earley Dean (Lymon), and Henri Watkins (Wining Boy).

“The Piano Lesson” is the fourth play in Wilson’s “The Pittsburgh Cycle” of ten plays. 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” received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

A Romare Bearden painting, “The Piano Lesson (Homage to Mary Lou),” inspired Wilson to write a play featuring a strong female character to confront African-American history, paralleling Troy in earlier “Fences.” 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. What “The Piano Lesson” finally seems to ask is: “What do you do with your legacy, and how do you best put it to use?”

Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, the play 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. The play focuses on the arguments between a brother and a sister who have different ideas on what to do with the piano. 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. 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.

Kennie Playhouse Theatre presents The Piano Lesson: Thu. Feb 22, 7:30 pm; Fri. Feb 23, 7:30 pm; Sat. Feb 24, 7:30 pm; Sun. Feb 25, 2:30 pm; Thu. Feb 29, 7:30 pm; Fri. Mar 1, 7:30 pm; Sat. Mar 2, 2:30 pm; Sat. Mar 2, 7:30 pm; Sun. Mar 3, 2:30 pm; Wed. Mar 6, 10:00 am; Thu. Mar 7, 7:30 pm; Fri. Mar 8th 2024, 7:30 pm; Sat. March 9, 2:30 pm; Sat. March 9, 7:30 pm and Sun. March 10, 2:30 pm.

Get tickets, info and more at: kennieplayhousetheatre.com.

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