What does a 15-year-old girl have to say about the United States Constitution? More than I could possibly have imagined, before attending the brilliant one-act play “What the Constitution Means to Me” tonight at the New York Theatre Workshop. It’s written and performed by Heidi Schreck, a woman in her 40s. The setting is an American Legion meeting, where, as a teenage girl, she debated about the document before a gathering of cigar-smoking old men.
In telling her story, told from an unapologetically feminist perspective, the playwright channels her younger self, while at the same time reflecting upon two and a half decades of subsequent life experience and wisdom. She talks frankly about her own body and tells stories of her mother and grandmother. Toward the end of the presentation, Schreck is joined onstage by a genuine New York City high school student, with whom she engages in a live debate. That’s the portion of the evening featuring audience participation, when everyone receives a copy of the Constitution itself (my copy is pictured).
The play also features Mike Iveson of “Orange Is the New Black,” who offers a personal “reveal” of his own. Audio recordings of actual oral arguments from the Supreme Court bench are played, in which the voices of Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and others are heard.
I was genuinely moved by this thought-provoking and educational piece. In my view, if those 11 while male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were to see this, they might think twice before voting yes on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. If you happen to live in New York City or if you are going to be visiting this fall, this is not to be missed. It’s playing until Oct. 21.