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The Piano Lesson is an American movie of 1995 based on the performance. It was produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame and directed by Lloyd Richards. Starring were Charles S. Dutton and Alfred Woodard. In this Movie, a poor black family ends up in a contend as one of the family members tries to sell an ornamented, curved piano that portrayed the family history.
Boy Willy, his sister Bernice, his friend Lymon and Bernice boyfriend are the main characters in the film. Boy Willy is a rogue who has learned how to survive through stealing, lying, and cheating. He is ambitious and seeks to change his life through economic freedom. On the other hand, Bernice is a hard nut to crack. She is decisive and firm on her decisions.
Boy Willy and his friend Lymon travelled from Mississippi to Pittsburgh to meet his sister Bernice, not only to sell the piano but also to play it, as a means of forgetting the past since her mother’s death. One time, the wife of the original Sutter who is a white, former owner of their family had owned the piano. Decades earlier, Willy’s grandfather had carved into the piano’s surface of the African tribal history and the American slave history. On arrival, Willy is told by his Uncle Doaker that Bernice was not willing to part with the piano. Bernice’s boyfriend Avery and her Uncle Winning Boy also tried to convince her to sell it. Bernice refuses for a reason that selling it would be like turning her back on her people and their background. Throughout the performance, the piano is a center by which different attitudes about the past may be evaluated. Wilson’s intention is to redefine carrying the burdens of the past into how best to gain from the past.
The first theme in this narrative is enslavement. The carvings on the piano are of the African tradition and American slave history. The ancestors of the black family once lived in slavery. On the other hand, Willy Boy is leading a life in slavery as he searches for economic freedom and self-actualization. Psychological empowerment for self-realization is also explored in the play. It is way through which the former slave forms a compromise for their personality. Boy Willy needs such reconstruction because he has learned to steal, cheat, and lie in order to survive.