“If I was going to do a play about the Constitution, it had to be entertaining. It had to be funny,” playwright and actor Heidi Schreck told The Today Show’s Stephanie Gosk April 19.
Gosk met Schreck on the stage of the Hayes Theater, where her new play What the Constitution Means to Me recently opened on Broadway. The play was also named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama earlier this week.
The play re-enacts (to an extent) the speeches Schreck made as a high school student at American Legion halls around the country, answering the title prompt. But Schreck’s personal connections to the document she loved takes her through her family’s history of trauma. Still, as Gosk noted, the play bounces with a bombastic energy and, often, with humor.
“My hope is that they leave here excited by the same questions I'm excited by, and they leaving thinking about what's going on in our country in a deeper way,” said Schreck.
“I've spent a decade working on this show, and I think it's a mistake to revere this document. I think it has a lot of problems and that we should look at that with clear eyes,” she said.
But for all its investigation into the flaws in of the Constitution, Schreck urged, “I did make the decision to end the play in a joyful way.”