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Synopsis: Boy Willie (Charles Dutton), a sharecropper, travels to Pittsburgh in the 1930s hoping that his sister, Berniece Charles (Alfre Woodard), will let him have the piano that their enslaved uncle engraved in pre--Civil War Mississippi. Willie hopes to parlay proceeds from selling the instrument into ownership of the land his uncle once worked. But when Berniece has other ideas, it becomes clear that the piano represents very different things to the siblings.

Sc 1 Sc 1

ADA (VO - Scs 2 to 7)

The voice you hear is not my

speaking voice, but my mind's

voice.

I have not spoken since I was

six years old. No one knows

why, not even me. My father

says it is a dark talent and

the day I take it into my head

to stop breathing will be my

last.

Today he married me to a man

I've not yet met. Soon my

daughter and I shall join him

in his own country. My husband

said my muteness does not

bother him. He writes and hark

this:
God loves dumb creatures,

so why not he!

Were good he had God's patience

for silence affects everyone in

the end. The strange thing is I

don't think myself silent, that

is, because of my piano. I

shall miss it on the journey.

Sc 2 EXT SCOTTISH FIELD NEAR HOUSEDAY Sc 2

A woman in a dark crepe Victorian dress sits leaning against a tree,

her hands cover her face, around her neck she wears a writing pad. She

crosses a field with large bare trees, in the far background stands a

3 storey stone house.

Sc 3 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE CORRIDOR DAY Sc 3

A small girl roller skates down a dimly lit corridor. A parlour maid

looks down the hall where the girl has disappeared.

Sc 4 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE DRAWING ROOMDAY Sc 4

Three men wearing long grey aprons are fitting the packing for a

piano. On one of the men's arms is a tattoo of a whale in a wild sea.

Sc 5 EXT SCOTTISH HOUSE GROUNDS DAY Sc 5

The girl wearing her skates sits on a small black pony. An old man is

pulling it, but it won't move. (In the background, another aspect of

the grey stone house.)

Sc 6 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE FLORA'S BEDROOM NIGHTSc 6

The woman lifts back the sheets from the bottom of the sleeping girl's

bed. She is still wearing her skates. The woman cuts through the laces

and removes the boots. One disembodied skate rolls across the room.

Sc 7 INT SCOTTISH HOUSE DRAWING ROOMNIGHT Sc 7

The woman stands at a window lit by moonlight. Her skin appears

luminescently white. She touches the wooden window frame, the curtain,

the objects on the window sill, her mind abstracted, her hands

unconsciously performing a farewell. Turning from the window she moves

to a square piano crowded by packing boxes. In the dim light she

begins to play strongly. Her face strains, she is utterly involved,

unaware other own strange guttural sounds that form an eerie

accompaniment to the music.

An old maid in night-dress looks in. Abruptly the woman stops playing.

The emotion leaves her face, it whitens and seems solid like a wall.

CUT TO BLACK:

Sc 8 EXT UNDERWATER BEACH DAY Sc 8

Under water a long boat passes overhead, its oars breaking the

surface.

Sc 9 EXT BEACH DAY Sc 9

Amidst a riotous sea a woman, ADA, is carried to shore on the

shoulders of five seamen. Her large Victorian skirt spreads across the

men's arms and backs, on her head a black bonnet, around her neck her

pad and pen. We should be forgiven if this woman seems a sacrificial

offering as the bay they carry her to is completely uninhabited. A

black sand backs on to an endless rise of dense native bush.

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August Wilson

August Wilson (April 27, 1945 – October 2, 2005) was an American playwright whose work included a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each work in the series is set in a different decade, and depicts comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century. more…

All August Wilson scripts | August Wilson Books

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"The Piano Lesson Movie Script" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 28 Jun 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/1111>.

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