What the Constitution
What the Constitution In the last few years, the word “timely” has seen a number of transformations. This is the result of living on a knife’s-blade time in the history of. We are in a state of balance, hanging on a thin sliver of solidity, diamond-sharp, and diamond-precious. In these times, stories cannot be avoided from taking on a new resonance. In a time where almost anything can suddenly feel almost vital Heidi Schreck’s “What The Constitution Meanings to Me” is available on Amazon Prime. It’s an incredible accomplishment and an achievement with a stunning clarity. It’s also humorous, heartfelt as well as awe-inspiring. It’s yet, despite everything, in possession of a bright flare of optimism. Watching it is essential and painful, just like taking a great deep breath and rubbing broken ribs. It’ll be painful. But it’s worth it.
But it is a big difference, and Schreck’s decision to forgo more grandly theatrical decisions infuses “Constitution” with immediacy as well as vulnerability and candor. Schreck focuses mainly on the 14th and ninth amendments. She also explores the beauty, the contradictions, and even the failures of the United States Constitution through multiple lenses. Schreck also enjoys being with men, which she admits in one of the best jokes in the play. “I’m the son of a father,” Schreck says with a smile. The play is about her family’s past as well as the story of the United States history. It’s also about her life and what the absence of the preamble signifies for LGBTQIA+ women, females as well as non-binary individuals, and especially trans women and girls.
Inevitably, the work that Heller’s film of “Constitution” will get compared to most frequently will likely be Thomas Kail’s film of the original cast of “Hamilton”–proximity of release, subject matter, and of course format all invite the comparison. ( Linmanuel Miranda Angelica Schuyler asks Thomas Jefferson if it is necessary to rewrite the original or rewrite the entire thing. Schreck’s play questions whether the original story should be rewritten or canceled. But in its approach it is reminiscent to documentary Jennifer Fox’s 2018 documentary ” The Tale,” which chronicled Fox’s childhood sexual abuse by examining her personal perspective and using fiction as a tool to create and eliminate personal distance. The past is past and the present is in, and both are constantly occurring simultaneously.
In order to elaborate on Schreck’s flawlessly structured, intelligent text would diminish the experience of watching the play unfold but there are a few aspects that deserve to be mentioned, one of which may perform better on film than it did in the theater. While the previous paragraphs could suggest that Schreck’s play is a solo affair however, she’s not the only one in the theatre for long when actor Mike Iveson enters, playing his own role (as Schreck does) and a legionnaire to ensure that Heidi and her unseen fellow debaters comply with all rules to the letter. He’s a silent absent, unspoken presence. His job is to enforce the rules he and others like him have written. He’s not there to enforce rules, but he’s there as a watchful and attentive spectator. Schreck reveals layer upon layer of information about consent to abortion as well as domestic violence and how the document she was adamant about at just 15 years old has failed her, as well as many other women for decades. The relationship is dynamic , and Heller captures Iveson’s constant presence and Schreck’s keen awareness of it using sharp, edged subtilty. It’s all in the framing–a statement which, come to think of it, also applies to certain interpretations of the law of constitutions.