Theater: A Ghostly Past, in Ragtime

THE PIANO LESSON by August Wilson

The piano in Doaker Charles' living room is a family heirloom, and like most heirlooms it is prized more than used, its value measured less in money than in memories. For this piano, the Charles family was torn asunder in slavery times: to acquire it, the white man who owned them traded away Doaker's grandmother and father, then a nine-year-old. On this piano, Doaker's grieving grandfather, the plantation carpenter, carved portrait sculptures in African style of the wife and son he had lost. To Doaker's hothead older brother, born under the second slavery of Jim...

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