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Sunday, March 24, 2019

"What the Constitution Means to Me" is an Earnest Debate on the Crucibles of our Constitution

 Heidi Schreck is the writer/performer of a semi-autobiographical account of her high school years spent in Constitutional debate competitions to earn cash prizes to pay for college tuition.  The debates' focus was on the connection between the document and how it pertained to her life.   This earnest production is a caldron of comedy that represents Heidi's personal history along with American history and past & current interpretations of our Constitution.   The set is a facsimile of an American Legion stage where a 15 year old Heidi participated & often won oratory debates.  Schreck lets us know she can only pretend to be herself at 15 without any physical facade to convince  us of her transformation.  However, she convinces us winningly with her earnest & energetic run-on soliloquies of sophisticated intellect with innocent jubilation.  Shreck's 40 something persona can't help but intervene into preambles of historic and current Supreme Court rulings incurring the "magical & mysterious" 9th Amendment enumerating certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others.  Schreck presents egregious failings of the Supreme Court as in the Dred Scott Case in 1857.  The Court ruled the Constitution did not include American citizenship and its privileges to blacks.  Other case in point is Jessica Gonzales v Castle Rock.  The Court ruled the police could not be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order which led to the murder of her 3 children by her estranged husband.  Repeatedly, we're reminded Native Americans have throughout history been denied their Constitutional rights.  Roe v Wade is another topical ruling segued from Schreck's own abortion.  These cases might argue for a sanctimonious desecration of our democracy.  This is up for debate literally.  Schreck is joined on stage by 17 year old Thursday Williams to argue for or against  maintaining the Constitution.  The stratum of knowledge & experience gleaned by Schreck over the years is pitted against a youthful & worthy opponent.  A judge is selected from the audience for a verdict which is an unworthy gimmick in an otherwise honest & intelligent production.  Schreck's ingratiating & informal performance enhances an exciting exchange of provocative ideas and information that make "What the Constitution Means to Me" a meaningful substantive show.

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