In drawing a concept from the Proverbs, 17th century British playwright William Congreve proclaimed “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” spoken by Zara in Act III, Scene VIII of “The Mourning Bride” (1697). The quote is often mistakenly attributed to an earlier bard and another William. Since Congreve borrowed it from the Bible only to have history believe it to have been penned by another author reminds us that the message is always more important than the speaker.
While I’ve routinely dismissed the line as misogynistic preferring to believe that Hell is likely filled with banshees of both genders plotting vengeance on thoughtless and lost love, one is reminded that art has often miscast women as shrew rather than progenitor. Not so with the Women’s’ fund of Central Indiana which has placed pianos, both indoors and out, at locations around our fair communities (www.womensfund.org/go-ahead-play). These instruments are meant to be played by all comers – the gifted and the not-so-much-so. Across downtown Indianapolis and at two locations in the Arts & Design District in Carmel, folks can and do play live music with reckless abandon. Local artists made the donated and refurbished pianos ready for primetime (and for sale to raise money to go back into the community). The idea designed to raise awareness and create public art is created and brought to life by sixth- to twelfth-grade students! Sure, Jennifer Pope Baker, the Women’s Fund Executive Director, and her top flight team provided loads of support, but the kids are to be credited.
Before the pianos are removed next week, stop and play. Stop and interact. Congreve might have been better remembered if he’d quoted, “Heaven hath no joy, like a woman of service.” We are all the better for what you do.