When she was a teenager, Heidi Schreck toured the country giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution in order to earn scholarship money for college. She revisits those speeches and reexamines her views on the document, which is in many ways the foundation of American life, in her Tony-nominated play, “What the Constitution Means to Me.” A filmed production of the show, directed by Marielle Heller, will soon hit Amazon Prime.
In a new trailer for the film, Schreck is honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the Constitution. “[Women’s] bodies had just been left out of this document from the beginning,” she says. But she also recognizes that the Constitution is meant to be a “living document” that changes with the times: “Our constitution acknowledges that who we are now, might not be who we will become.”
Schreck takes on other aspects of the American government, including the Supreme Court, in the show, stressing that the inequalities baked into the Constitution have trickled down into modern life — her life included. “My friend Renee and I wanted to be on birth control just in case, just in case we were in a hot tub and the sperms swam up and attacked us,” she recalls. “Or, you know, in case of a real attack.” She adds, “There will not be a woman on the Supreme Court until 1981. There are nine men deciding the fate of birth control, four of whom are cheating on their wives.”
“What the Constitution Means to Me” won a New York Drama Critics Circle prize, was nominated for two Tonys, and was a Pulitzer finalist.
“Grand Concourse,” “Creature,” and “There Are No More Big Secrets” are among Schreck’s other plays. She’s also written for TV on series such as “I Love Dick,” “Billions,” and “Nurse Jackie.” She appeared in the latter two.
Heller’s last film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” hit theaters in 2019. Her other films include “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”
“What the Constitution Means to Me” arrives on Amazon Prime October 16. Schreck and Heller are among the project’s exec producers.