CAST—From left: Monteze Freeland, standing, Wali Jamal, seated, and Karla C. Payne.

CAST—From left: Monteze Freeland, standing, Wali Jamal, seated, and Karla C. Payne.

Family—can’t live with them, can’t live without them; it’s the gray area between to the two is where conflict resides. The convergence of past, present and future is at the center of “The Piano Lesson,” playing at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre is working its way through The Pittsburgh Century Cycle a second time, after becoming the first company to produce all ten in the order of each’s Broadway debut in 2013. With that under its belt, Playwrights is presenting the cycle again with an opportunity to glean more drama and magic from the scripts. This co-production with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust more than lives up to expectations.

What’s new is the expanse of the stage in AWC’s Franco Harris Theatre. Moving from the tight confines of Playwright’s black box space affords an opportunity to soak in more of the ambiance of the 1930s Hill District residence where the play is set (kudos to set designer Tony Ferrieri). Intimate familiarity with Wilson’s work offers a chance to see “The Piano Lesson” through a new set of ears and eyes. Working with a cast of “Wilsonian soldiers” provides revelations between the layers of the script.

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