WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME – Written by Heidi Schreck; Directed by Allison Watrous. Produced by Butterfly Effect Theatre Company (BETC) (Presented at the Savoy Event Center, 2700 Arapahoe, Denver) through February 11 (Diary Arts Center, Boulder, from May 3 to 19). Tickets available at betc.com.
Another good show; bad title (to steal a line from URINETOWN marketing). The title makes you think this show is going to be a boring history lesson involving B. Franklin and A. Hamilton. They are mentioned in passing but it’s much more about Heidi herself, the playwright now morphed into the leading character in this exploration of past and present history.
Heidi reveals her 15-year-old debate contender who routinely wins debate challenges with her patriotic verbal expression of “The Constitution is a Crucible.” She then goes on to stretch that metaphor to a crucible being a place where everything gets mixed together like a cauldron – followed smoothly by an expansion into witchcraft and their reliance on magic. Therefore, the Constitution is like magic. Strangely, it all makes sense as Jessica Robblee as Heidi explains her premise.
As the evening continues, not only do we learn more about Heidi’s personal life and beliefs, but she engages the audience as the judges in this debate, cajoling us to her point of view. Her passion about the subject matter and her high-grade energy never allows your attention to falter or our interest to flag. She explores why women were left out of the conversation in Philadelphia so long ago and what has and hasn’t changed since then. Her constant belief is that the Constitution is a bunch of laws designed to reinforce that women are worthless. She paints a powerful picture.
She is joined on stage by Rodney Lizcano as Mike, the Legionnaire who is her local host and timekeeper. He eventually sheds his Legion persona and joins in the conversation about what the Constitution means to him and how it impacts your everyday life. The final cast member is Mariam Faal who plays a “real life” 15-year-old debate participant who takes on Heidi in a fast-paced argument to decide should we change the Constitution or dump it and start all over again – as Jefferson thought should be done for every era.
Set in an American Legion Hall with portraits of past Legion presidents staring down from the wall, this is truly a slice of American culture in the 80’s.
BETC is spreading its wings and has a continuing set of programs scheduled for the remodeled hotel turned event center. Check their website for upcoming events. This program continues at the Savoy through February 11. It will then continue its run at the Dairy Center in Boulder from May 3rd to the 19th.
While you do not get a dry boring history lesson with this evening at the theatre, you do learn a lot, question long held beliefs, and are gently encouraged to explore America’s beginnings and how the Constitution impacts your everyday life. Plus it’s just fun.
A WOW factor of 8.75!!