Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Kelly, Baron

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Burton, Nefertiti

Committee Member

Burton, Nefertiti

Committee Member

Tolson, Jerry

Author's Keywords

The Piano Lesson; August Wilson; Black; African American


The rehearsal process of theatre art entails several steps leading up to performance. Traditionally, the ensemble will discuss together what is needed to produce the theatrical piece, the director will work with each scene individually, and eventually the ensemble will be able to perform the entire piece, with only polishing left to do before performance. This process varies depending on the type of genre that will be performed. The rehearsal process to produce plays that are written with realistic settings and plot lines often, but not always, involve these steps. In order for this process to be productive, as an actor I must take individual steps leading up to performance, in addition to working with the ensemble during rehearsal. This thesis will analytically reflect upon the steps I took before and during the rehearsal process leading up to my performance of Berniece Charles, in August Wilson’s, The Piano Lesson. In this examination, I will rediscover how these steps were necessary toward my understanding and portrayal of Berniece. In Chapter 1, I will justify my interpretation of Berniece based on character analysis that describes her socioeconomic status, her childhood, and her relationships with the other characters in the play. In Chapter 2, I will discuss August Wilson’s use of musicality and blues inspired language as a means of understanding Berniece’s psychology. Lastly, in Chapter 3, I will explain how research and script analysis worked together with my imagination to physically, psychologically, and emotionally craft my performance of Berniece Charles.

Included in

Acting Commons