The Piano Lesson is an American movie of 1995 by the performance. It was directed by Lloyd Richards and produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame. Alfre Woodard and Charles S. Dutton starred in it. In this movie, a poor black family ends up in a dispute 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’s boyfriend are the main characters of 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 travelled from Mississippi to Pittsburgh together with his friend Lymon 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. Formerly, the wife of the original Sutter, a white, once the owner of their family had possessed the piano. Decades earlier, Willy’s grandfather had carved into the piano’s surface of the history of African tribes and the slaves in America. On arrival, Willy is told by his Uncle Doaker that Bernice was not willing to give up 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 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 his personality. Boy Willy needs such reconstruction because he has learned to steal, cheat, and lie in order to survive.