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.


It's a little rough out there.

Could be they can't get through

to you in this weather. Maybe

they'll come over land.

ADA nods.


Have you things for shelter?

ADA nods.


What things have you?

ADA signs to her daughter. The little girl speaks clearly and loudly

without emotion.


She says, "thank you".

Puzzled, the man walks off, then turns and comes back.


Does your mother prefer to come

on with us to Nelson?

ADA signs vigorously to FLORA.


She says, No. She says she'd

rather be boiled alive by

natives than get back in your



(stunned) You be damn fortuned

I don't smack your puppy gob,

missy. Damn lucky.



ADA is sheltering behind the crated piano, anxiety etched on her face.

FLORA is asleep at her feet a half eaten biscuit in her hand ADA has

found a gap through the crate so that she might lift the lid and play

a few notes. The sweetness and comfort of the piano seem only to

exaggerate their isolation and hopelessness.

2- See notes

Suddenly a rush of sea water shoots straight under the raised crate of

the piano wetting her shoes. ADA stands, pushing FLORA onto her feet.

She is aghast to see the tide has crept in completely unnoticed.

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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. 21 Feb. 2018. <>.

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