The best plays touch upon universal themes and reveal profound personal truths about human beings. Last year, Derek Delgaudio’s IN AND OF ITSELF taught audiences that they “are defined by the things they never see” and how important it is to connect with others. Likewise, 2020’s powerhouse feminist play, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME, guides audiences to stand up for the people they are connected with.
WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME is a recording of Heidi Schreck’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominated play. In the show, Heidi remembers the fifteen-year-old version of herself that loved the constitution so much and won multiple constitutional debate competitions to pay for college.
Yet what this raw work of art is really about are women and the underprivileged’s inability to create huge steps forward in a prehistoric man’s world. You know the dog on a beach that runs back and forth while the owner slowly moves them forward on a leash? That’s the comparison of progress that Heidi has made regarding women’s rights since the birth of America’s constitution. These slow changes, however, are not made passively.
For me, I was pleasantly surprised that this play was not only moving enough to bring my wife and me to tears but also hilarious! Heidi is an extremely gifted storyteller. As she states awful statistics like so far this century, more American women have been killed by their male partners than Americans have died in all wars, including 9/11, she also uses a self-deprecating sense of humor to lighten the mood. Even this act of lightening the mood is a prime example of how much women have to placate men to get their point heard.
Right now, America is in a “penumbra” state. Penumbra, a word used by one of the most liberal supreme court judges, William O. Douglas. Are we going to stay between the fully dark and fully light sections, and is a relic that’s over two hundred years old standing in the way? If we abolish the constitution, will it move society forward, or will we collapse? These are extremely tough questions to debate, and Heidi tackles them head-on in a film that would’ve made my best list in 2020 had I seen it sooner.
Oh, and yes, I apologized to my wife after viewing it for how awful men’s behavior has been towards women.
WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME is a must-watch on Amazon Prime Video.