Tony-Award nominated playwright and Wenatchee local Heidi Schreck shares her current relationship with U.S. politics, and announces the new pilot she’s been working on for Amazon Prime.

Heidi Schreck is the playwright behind the twice Tony Award-nominated play What the Constitution Means to Me, which made her a Pulitzer Prize finalist when it opened on Broadway back in 2019.

Key figures such as Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor attended some of her performances, and on Oct. 15, Washington’s own Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be holding a Q&A after one of the performances held at the Seattle Repertory Theater.

What the Constitution Means to Me is a play that takes you back to Schreck’s adolescence, an era when she enrolled in the American Legion Oratory Contest that took her across the United States.

Schreck was debating from state to state and eventually paid for her college tuition with the prize money she won.

Born in Pullman and raised in Wenatchee, Schreck drew inspiration for her play through her mother, Sherri Chastain Schreck, her father, Larry Schreck, and her debate coach, Scott Benner.

“I would say those things, like my dad's love of history, my mom's love of theater, my great debate coach at high school, all shaped [me into] the artist I became [and] the writer,” Schreck said. “They certainly had a huge effect on the making of this play, which is about being a teenage girl in Wenatchee doing debate.”

In the play, Schreck meets four generations of women in her family and learns what the constitution means to each one of them. Sensitive topics explored in the play include domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and discussions of abortion and its stigmatization.

Heidi originally played the titular character “Heidi,” the teen version of herself debating at the American Legion Hall in Wenatchee in the year of 1989. However, the production currently playing in Seattle will not have the real Heidi Schreck in it, with the titular “Heidi” played by lead actress Cassie Beck.

Schreck shares that she could not perform because she is currently working on a pilot in Atlanta, Ga., that is set to air on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. 

They are going to start filming in the next few weeks.

She also shared that she has been slowly working on a book based on What the Constitution Means to Me, which will further detail her family history, specifically on the struggles the women in her family were facing in their lifetimes.

“[I] really started to focus on the role of women in the Constitution and how this document has essentially in many ways not protected the lives of women, and also a lot of other people in the country,” Schreck said. “That's not where I started when I started making the play, it's sort of what I discovered.”

In the past year, the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has made her reaffirm her belief in women’s right to choose what to do with their bodies.

“Given all the research that I've done, I feel like the Constitution protects that fundamental right, like the right to equality, the right to bodily autonomy, the right to privacy. I think the document protects those things, which means it protects my right to have an abortion if I need one,” Schreck explained. 

Later on she adds, “Right in this moment, my commitment to the right of women and people who can get pregnant to decide what to do with their own bodies and to make their own medical decisions in communication with their doctors is a right. I firmly support, passionately believe in, and I'm upset and angry that it's being questioned.”

"What the Constitution Means to Me" will be performed at Seattle Repertory Theater through Oct. 23, 2022. 

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