The Piano Lesson script
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.

The breakers are chaotic, the men strain to keep their footing,

calling to each other.


Hold still you smutt! Blast the


Look up! Look up!

Lay to! Lay to.

Up with it you buggerers, hold


Damn me won't you hold?!


Two of the men are black, all are battered, tattooed and tough, some

are drunk.

Behind the woman is her daughter, a girl of ten in Scottish dress. She

too is carried on the shoulders of seamen.

ADA is placed on the sand. She looks down at her feet sinking into the

wet sand, then up at the huge confusion of fern and bush in front of

her. The sound of sea behind is thunderous.

Several of the seamen have formed a group and are pissing on the sand.

Her daughter is on all fours evidently being sick. But ADA's attention

is diverted to the seamen who are staggering through the waves with a

huge piano shaped box. They put it down as soon as they get to 5hore

but ADA makes gestures that they must immediately bring it to higher

safer ground. The piano placed to her satisfaction she hovers near it,

one hand in constant touch of it while her daughter grips her free



TWO SEAMEN finish carrying the last crate to shore. Trunks and boxes

including an open crate with hens are scattered carelessly along the


The SEAMEN gather together. After a discussion in which they look

between ADA and her child and their Coaster out on the sea, one of the

men approaches. Behind him the other men keep their eyes out to sea or

down on the sand. They don't want to be involved. The sight of the

women alone on this beach is too hopeless.

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August Wilson

August Wilson was an American playwright whose work included a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama more…

All August Wilson scripts | August Wilson Books

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"The Piano Lesson" STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 18 Jan. 2018. <>.

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