There's a parallel universe where the real estate con-man president didn't sit back and let a virus ravage the country in order to protect a few economic metrics with no intrinsic meaning. And in that parallel universe, the theatre where I met my wife would have been hosting a production of Heidi Schreck's Pulitzer-finalist play What the Constitution Means To Me. We could have gone to see the show on Election Night — maybe leaving our newborn at home with grandparents to babysit! — then gone out to meet some friends at a bar as we watched the results roll in.
Here's the official blurb:
Fifteen year old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful and achingly human new play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.
Schreck's timely and galvanizing play, directed by Oliver Butler, became a sensation off-Broadway before transferring to Broadway where it received two Tony Award nominations among countless other accolades. The New York Times hailed What the Constitution Means to Me as "not just the best play to open on Broadway so far this season, but also the most important."
What the Constitution Means To Me is a heartfelt, entertaining show that engages head-on with important issues of American identity. The 15-year-old Schreck bought all the sales pitches about America; but the 48-year-old version of her has seen the harsh truths of reality, and tries to reconcile that, as she realizes just how much the country has failed to live up to what it said it was on paper. She even digs into historical records, tracing her family's history in the country — which again, looks very different from a 48-year-old perspective than a 15-year-old's.
For 90 minutes, the show completely distracted us from the impending doom of Election Day, without making us feel guilty about, well, distracting ourselves from the impending doom of Election Day. It'll make you reflect on your own naivety, and your own shifting perceptions of the country. It'll make you mad about America, but will also give you some hope — or at the very least, challenge you to think in some new ways about the intrinsic value of nationalistic aspirations.
If you're looking for a way to escape our National Anxiety this week, that also helps you engage with our National Anxiety, I'd recommend watching What the Constitution Means To Me while it's free on Amazon Prime.