The Piano Lesson

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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20111127

2011112720160821 (R3)

In August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play set in Pittsburgh in 1936, an ancient upright piano carved with African faces dominates the parlour of Doaker Charles. Boy Willie and his partner Lymon have come up from the south to sell watermelons. Boy Willie has just got out of prison and he wants to buy the land his ancestors once worked as slaves but his sister is not about to sell the piano.

Creative consultant, Ricardo Khan

Pianist, Ernie Scott

"The glow accompanying August Wilson's place in contemporary American theatre is fixed." Toni Morrison.

August Wilson (1945-2005) is America's foremost black playwright. 'The Piano Lesson' is the fourth of his cycle of ten plays about the African American experience in the twentieth century. It opened at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and the 1990 Broadway production won a Pulitzer Prize, a Drama Desk Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The play was inspired by Romare Bearden's painting of the same name. August Wilson saw its scene of a teacher and student as an allegory for how African Americans must learn to negotiate their history.

This radio production was recorded at Tony Award winning Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey, with the support of August Wilson's widow, and an outstanding cast which includes actors like Stephen Henderson and Anthony Chisholm who worked extensively with August Wilson. Anthony and Stephen were both in the Olivier award winning production of 'Jitney' which took London by storm ten years ago and Stephen and Chris Chalk were both in the Broadway Tony award winning production of August Wilson's 'Fences' starring Denzel Washington in 2010.

First broadcast in November 2011.

01Crotchets And Quavers1999110220000207
20140803 (BBC7)

What are the drawbacks and advantages of taking up the piano in later life?

What are the drawbacks and advantages of taking up the piano in later life? With Richard Ingrams. From November 1999.

In the first of four programmes Jeremy Nicholas attends a piano weekend run by The Oldie magazine.

02The Essential Key1999110920000208
20140810 (BBC7)

Jeremy Nicholas finds out what learning the piano means to Nicholas, who is autistic.

Jeremy Nicholas finds out what learning the piano means to 15-year-old Nicholas, who is autistic. From November 1999.

Jeremy Nicholas finds out what learning the piano means to 15-year-old Nicholas Shaw, who is autistic.

03Notes In The City1999111620000209
20140817 (BBC7)

Jeremy Nicholas meets older people taking up the piano.

Jeremy Nicholas meets older people taking up the piano and finds out how their teacher helps them to learn. From November 1999.

Jeremy Nicholas visits a piano studio for stressed city folk.

04Behind Bars1999112320000210

Jeremy Nicholas goes inside to talk to a lifer about his passion for Bach.

05 LASTFamily Harmony1999113020000211

Jeremy Nicholas visits a family in which three generations are learning the piano.