What to see: The Piano Lesson, Third, and 9 Parts of Desire

Yes, we’re supposed to get more snow, but please don’t let the weekend pass without getting out to a show! The best use of two hours between now and March 30, in my book, is either August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson at Penumbra Theatre, or Wendy Wasserstein’s Third at the Guthrie. If you can, see them both.

The Piano Lesson is so compelling, I saw it twice. It’s the story of a brother and sister who fight over a piano that has intricate carvings depicting their family’s journey through slavery. At issue is whether to sell the piano to fund the family’s welfare today, or keep it out of respect for the price that was paid in human life to smuggle it out of a slave owner’s house. Typical of August Wilson plays, there are no set changes, and the spiritual side of life meets the practical in surprising ways. Under the direction of Lou Bellamy, the cast and the chilling light/sound presence of a ghost will draw you into the family’s living room and keep you entertained there until the final, whispered, “Thank you.”  read more »

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