“What the Constitution Means to Me” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – April 13, 2024


“What the Constitution Means to Me”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hardes Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

In these troubled and confusing times, it is nice to know that the United States Constitution protects our rights and freedoms. The complex document is brought to throbbingly exciting life in the artful Phoenix Theatre Company production of “What the Constitution Means to Me.”  Middle-aged Heidi explains key parts in a personal but insightful way of what the document means to her.

Heidi is the play’s sole character until just before the conclusion when a student debater materializes to provide a young person’s perspective on the document and, with a bit of clever audience participation, ensures that the Constitution will remain with us as it evolves to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.

Heidi Schreck’s play makes the document look pulsating and alive without ever allowing the subject matter to become dull like too many history books picture it.  The play makes the subject matter viable even as misaligned politicians fight to override the Constitution. It even approaches some relevant issues like abortion that society grapples with and debates today and it is full of little but noticeable slaps at contemporary concerns.

Kate Haas’ Heidi brings a vibrant purpose and engaging energy to the discussion as she speaks from her heart to explain why it is so important to her.  She’s initially perplexed as the student begins to question her blind acceptance until she realizes that her young friend looks at the Constitution differently but still believes in it.

On opening night, the student debater was portrayed by Kayla Trevino who alternates in the role with two other performers.  She brought dynamic vivacity and persuasive sincerity to the pupil whose interpretation may differ from Heidi’s traditional approach.  Rob Watson serves as the lackluster time keeper and rule enforcer for various aspects of the examination. Michelle Chin’s staging keeps the pace alive and the debate active as the performers cavort around the simple American Legion’s Hall setting.

“What the Constitution Means to Me” is a fascinating exploration of a crucial document and what it ensures this country.  The play continues through June 16.  To order tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre Company box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A