Stages

Theater, Virtually: See What the Constitution Means to Me on Prime Video

Maria Dizzia as Heidi. Photo by Joan Marcus.

On March 8, just a week before theater and most other live events shut down, I began a theater review this way:

“What the Constitution Means to Me is partly a lesson in the glories of the 14th Amendment and partly the personal story of domestic abuse against women by the men in playwright Heidi Schreck’s family. The victims were her female relatives—starting with her great-great grandmother.

“Schreck created her stage persona—a lively, mostly solo performance—off Broadway and continued it in the highly successful six-month Broadway run last year. Maria Dizzia recreates Heidi successfully in the production now on stage at the Broadway Playhouse, presented by Broadway in Chicago. It’s a heartfelt and informative show, with moments of laughter and sorrow as Schreck/Dizzia relives her years as a teenaged debater. The story moves briskly, hopping back and forth from landscape to minutiae at a madcap pace. Oliver Butler, who directed the earlier iterations, directs the traveling production.”

Now, almost eight months later, Heidi Schreck’s play is available in a filmed version on Amazon Prime Video.

Director Marielle Heller shot several live performances and a rehearsal without an audience. She told an interviewer they used six cameras in the theater with she and the cinematographer “calling thje show like it was a live event.” She turned the raw film footage over to the editing team headed by Anne McCabe.

The play premiered on Broadway in March 2019; it was nominated for two Tony Awards and was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

What the Constitution Means to Me is set up on Amazon Video as a series with two episodes. Episode 0 is an 9-minute preview featuring one of the key arguments in the story. Episode 1 is the play itself, which runs 104 minutes. Viewing is free for Amazon Prime members; it’s available only on Prime.

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