Category Archives: Drama

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries

Reviewed by Donna Coghill, Public Services Specialist
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Set in mid-1930s Pittsburgh, The Piano Lesson tells the story of a brother and sister struggling over an intricately carved heirloom piano. One believes the piano represents the future by selling it to buy land previously worked by their slave ancestors; the other believes the piano represents the future by honoring the past and must remain in the family’s possession. Though the piano represents the center of conflict, the real conflict lies in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning exploration of family, heritage and recognition. When reading this play, the reader comes face-to-face with their own family legacy. We can all relate to family struggles, and Wilson exemplifies this with well defined and relatable characters. Perhaps the most touching example of family relations comes when the brother finally comes to his own understanding of what family, heritage and legacy really mean. Read The Piano Lesson as a stirring example of August Wilson’s fine work—in 2005 we lost not only a great playwright who told stories of black America, but a man who continually redefined all American Theatre traditions.

Cabell Library PS3573. I45677 P54 1990

Othello by William Shakespeare

Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries

Reviewed by Monique Prince, Undergraduate Services Librarian
William Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragic play about the title character, “the Moor,” who at the start of the play has recently married Desdemona, the white daughter of Brabantio, a Venetian senator. Although Othello has proved himself worthy to be general of the Venetian military, marrying into an upper-crust family is another matter altogether. Thrown into the mix is a jealous assistant, Iago, who Othello passed over for a promotion in favor of Cassio. To get revenge on both Cassio and Othello, Iago conceives a plot to convince Othello that his wife is having an affair with Cassio. The result is typically Shakespearean, as bloodshed and tragedy ensue.

Cabell Library PR2829.A2-Many Call Numbers