What the Constitution Means to Me defies classification in a number of ways. First, it’s brilliant. But then it’s so much more.
Heidi Schreck played herself on Broadway weaving constitutional scholarship into the story of her life and stories of her family going back generations.
On tour, Cassie Beck slips right into the role of Heidi and then, toward the end of the play, slips right out of that role. But that’s just an interesting twist where we get to see Beck’s debating skills. Or is that scripted? We left the theater wondering.
The story of Roe v. Wade is told through Heidi’s story about her own abortion. But even more interesting is the story of the Griswold case. That was the 1965 case — 10 years before Roe — that legalize birth control — if you were married and your husband allowed it.
As entertaining as anything was an actual clip of the case allowing women the right to use birth control argued by a male attorney being questioned by male justices. Lots of coughing and choking replaced words like vagina. To top it off, Heidi explains what actually was behind the legalization of birth control — at least four of the nine married justices were having affairs with much younger women.
You see how constitutional history can be so entertaining?
The only problem with the show was the venue. We all love the Winspear, but in some ways it swallowed the play. In New York, What the Constitution Means to Me played at the Hayes Theater with just under 600 seats, Broadway’s smallest house. The Winspear was too cavernous for this wonderful play that includes audience participation.
— David Taffet
What the Constitution Means to Me is playing through Jan. 9 at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets at ATTPAC.org.