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“The Piano Lesson” at Hartford Date is a assignment in how to date August Wilson properly.

Derrick Lee Weeden (Doaker), G. Valmont Thomas (Wining Boy), Stephen Tyrone Williams (Boy Willie), and Yaegel T. Welch (Lymon) in the Syracuse Stage production of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Photographer Michael Davis - The Piano Lesson August Wilso

Derrick Lee Weeden (Doaker), G. Valmont Thomas (Wining Boy), Stephen Tyrone Williams (Boy Willie), and Yaegel T. Welch (Lymon) in the Syracuse Stage production of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Photographer Michael Davis – The Piano Lesson August Wilso | The Piano Lesson August Wilson

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Director Jade King Carroll takes a agnate access to the one she took with “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ Aboriginal 100 Years” at the aforementioned amphitheater aftermost year. Both shows were abundantly advised by Alexis Distler as multi-story houses, with abounding apartment and landings and staircases and alike a appearance of the abode abutting door. Both accustomed the actors affluence of allowance to wander, pace, do diplomacy or hover in the abroad accomplishments aback not sitting about and cogent stories.

To some directors, this access ability assume counterintuitive. The gabfest “Having Our Say” and all of Wilson’s shows (many of which were originally workshopped and premiered in Connecticut, at the Eugene O’Neill Amphitheater Center and the Yale Repertory Theatre) are intimate, talkative, antagonistic affairs. Closeness heightens the drama. But, as this “Piano Lesson” reminds us, there’s a lot added to Wilson plays than confrontation. There are long, soulful agreeable interludes. There are bathed assignment scenes. There are several ancestors of a ancestors in one house. There’s a apparition at the top of that staircase. Here, aback the blaze don’t charge to fly, the casting can bang aback a bit, which is aloof as entertaining. The comedy is apparent with brusque twists and turns, and this assembly can board all of them.

Trailer - The Piano Lesson - The Piano Lesson August Wilson

Trailer – The Piano Lesson – The Piano Lesson August Wilson | The Piano Lesson August Wilson

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Productions of “Piano Lesson” can generally be categorized based on how physically handsome its arrogant anti-hero, Boy Willie, is accustomed to be. Does the character’s aplomb appear from acceptable looks and God-given charisma, or is he a bit delusional about his admiral of persuasion? In this case, he’s actual handsome indeed, played with audacious address and agile ladies-man bluster by Clifton Duncan. Boy Willie bursts accidentally into his uncle’s home in Pittsburgh, accursed up to advertise the family’s best admired heirloom, a hand-carved piano, so he can buy farmland. He’s told in no ambiguous terms, by any cardinal of bodies — there’s that candied August Wilson blues-like alliteration ambience in — that his sister Berniece is “never activity to advertise that piano.”

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The piano — which in this case happens to be the aforementioned imposing, beautifully adorned apparatus that graced “The Piano Lesson”‘s premiere assembly at the Yale Rep 26 years ago — sets the artifice (and several agreeable numbers) in motion, but of advance the comedy is about abundant added than piano moving. It’s about ancestors and association and heritage, and whether those things can advice or arrest a being who’s aloof aggravating to get advanced during the Great Depression. It’s about how African Americans were apparent in the aboriginal bisected of the 20th century, and how they saw themselves.

Art & Culture Maven: Signature Theatre New York City ... - The Piano Lesson August Wilson

Art & Culture Maven: Signature Theatre New York City … – The Piano Lesson August Wilson | The Piano Lesson August Wilson

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As Doaker, an aged man who’s accomplishing his best to accumulate his niece and nephew from bitter anniversary other’s active off, Roscoe Orman (who appeared in the aboriginal Broadway assembly of Wilson’s “Fences” and a brace of bounded productions of the playwright’s “Jitney”) gives a fascinating, above achievement that neatly complements the assorted rhythms of the added players. At first, accustomed the way he stammers and repeats himself, you ability admiration if Orman is apathy his lines. But aural a few account you’ve become acclimated to his characteristic delivery, and may balloon he’s acting at all. It’s a akin of accuracy few can match.

Other characters in the comedy are aloof as characteristic and believable. Christina Acosta Robinson, as Boy Willie’s ability sister Berniece, has the accurate attending and attitude of a distinct woman in the 1930s, from the way she styles her beard to how she carries herself in a nightdress. Cleavant Derricks, as the past-his-prime piano amateur Wining Boy, plays and sings with ability and charisma. Galen Ryan Kane, who accelerating beforehand this year from the Yale School of Drama, nails the catchy role of Boy Willie’s accessory Lymon, a aloof adolescent man who needs to advance himself added and added as the comedy goes on.

Piano Lesson by August Wilson, First Edition - AbeBooks - The Piano Lesson August Wilson

Piano Lesson by August Wilson, First Edition – AbeBooks – The Piano Lesson August Wilson | The Piano Lesson August Wilson

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It’s a aberration to see “The Piano Lesson” as the adventure of Boy Willie against Berniece, or of Doaker attention his home. Characters who, in the easily of a bottom playwright, would be accounting off as banana abatement or aural boards get their own scenes, their own voices, their own feelings. This full, rich, attentive assembly slows down, speeds up and diverges aloof as it should, catastrophe in a harmonic acme that links the accustomed with the supernatural, alluvial apropos with accepted ones. It makes the leap, spectacularly.

This “Piano Lesson” is a adept class. Learn from it.

The Piano Lesson Broadway @ Walter Kerr Theatre - Tickets and ... - The Piano Lesson August Wilson

The Piano Lesson Broadway @ Walter Kerr Theatre – Tickets and … – The Piano Lesson August Wilson | The Piano Lesson August Wilson

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“THE PIANO LESSON” by August Wilson, directed by Jade King Carroll, is performed through Nov. 13 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. There are added 2 p.m. Saturday performances on Nov. 5 and 12, and added 7:30 p.m. Sunday achievement on Oct. 30. There are no performances on Oct. 25. Tickets are $25 to $90. 860-527-5151, hartfordstage.org.

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