The Piano Lesson wrestles with the problem of what African Americans can best do with their cultural heritage. It seems to ask the question of how best to put history to use. August Wilson has been quoted as saying, “My generation of blacks knew very little about the past of our parents. They shielded us from the indignities they suffered”.
He saw this as a problem. Wilson felt that it was important for African Americans to be aware of their past, even if many parts of it were filled with struggle. The Piano Lesson is a parable of sorts that expresses the idea that African Americans must embrace where they’ve come from before they will truly be able to move forward.
The play won August Wilson his second Pulitzer Prize in 1990.
The play is directed by David Vaughn Straughn and produced by Edwina Herring.