In the beginning, you are curled in front of a fireplace, listening and chuckling as a sweet old woman shares her memories and her treasured cookie stash. She tells you about her first thwarted career as a concert pianist (small hands), her second thwarted career as a piano tuner (ear infection) and her third, very successful career as a piano teacher. The old woman, Mrs. K, tells you that her ordinary life was nothing but crosswords, cardigans, ivory keys and teacups.
But even as she shares her history, it is clear that the elderly Mrs. K is much more certain of her future than she is of her past.
Under the direction of Ed Stern, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of Julia Cho’s play The Piano Teacher is a stark, engrossing and painful thriller. Memory is not a lane meant for strolling; memory is labyrinth. There are places that cannot be avoided and even others that cannot be faced. And stories, those we tell others and those we tell ourselves, are forces to be reckoned with.
The Piano Teacher, presented by Playhouse in the Park, continues in the Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre through March 13. Go here to read Harper Lee's full review.