Readers Theater Puts on August Wilson’s “Piano Lesson” at Hannah Gallery

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August Wilson’s play “The Piano Lesson” was performed at the Hannah Gallery in Marin City Friday, Feb. 27.

Oshalla Diana Marcus directed the play, presenting it as a Community Readers Theater in which actors read their parts.

Readers Theater is rooted in the traditional art of storytelling, where people would gather to hear a gifted storyteller share a story or tale. The listener will use his or her imagination to visualize the details.

This oral tradition evolved into the form of radio shows, which were popular in the 1940s. Today the form continues on National Public Radio and in audio books.

Lashawn Darnell Holcomb (Boy Willie) is a playwright and currently teaches with the Marin Theater Company and leads theater workshops for elementary and middle school students. Holcomb wishes to write for the stage and work with youth.

Alvin Gilmore (Lymon) is the Education Director for Bridge the Gap College Prep. He started performing as a teenager in the musical production of “L’il Abner.”

Gilmore is a teacher and has also performed in various student productions.

ChauntiAna YaVette Keene-Thomas (Maretha) has sung since the age of two and has written songs since the age of four. She has performed in the Marin Theatre Company production of “Oliver” and starred in the role of Dorothy in “The Wiz,” and as Geronimo in the “Seven Rays of Light.”

W. Allen Taylor (Doaker) currently teaches, and directs plays, in College of Marin Drama Department. He has also performed AugustWilson’s “Piano Lesson” as Lymon on the professional stage.

Ricardo Moncrieff (Wining Boy and musical effects) is an improvisation jazz artist and a community activist who sees “art as everything and everywhere,” especially when used to heal.

Carol Thomas (Narrator) is a native of Marin City. Thomas is a singer and actress and has often sung and acted in the Marin City community.

Reggie Murray (Avery Brown) has been studying the craft of theater for the past decade. He played in the “Monster” in Hannah Gallery’s production of the Seven Ray’s of Light and also various character roles in Stage plays.

Chauntina YaVette Keene-Thomas (Grace) has performed several times with the Hannah Gallery along side with her daughter ChauntiAna. Thomas has always had a passion for the theater and has been singing and writing songs, poetry and prose since the age of 6.

Oshalla Diana Marcus read the role of Bernice and directed the play. Marcus is a professional dancer/choreographer who specializes in education through the performing arts and has written, directed and performed in educational and community theater setting in the United States, Russia, Africa and India.

“It was especially an honor to direct a play written by August Wilson, a playwright who brings the complexities of African-American culture to audiences in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining,” says Marcus who is committed to carrying on the tradition of storytelling and looks forward to working on new projects.

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