This is a hybrid event, offered both in-person and virtually. The panel will be streamed live and a discussion guide will be provided for those attending virtually to continue the conversation at home.
To sign up to attend in-person, click the "Register" button to the left or click here.
To sign up to attend virtually, click here.
McCarter Theatre and the Princeton Public Library, in advance of McCarter’s direct-from-Broadway presentation of Heidi Schreck's "What the Constitution Means to Me," invite all interested readers to join in a "pop-up book club" experience. Participants will pre-read Schreck’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated and Obie Award-winning play, "What the Constitution Means to Me," a catalyst for dialogue, described by the playwright as “a very personal love story about a teenage girl’s bad romance with the Constitution.” In keeping with the play’s dual purpose to celebrate and critique our country’s founding document—and meld the intensely personal with the political—readers will gather for a community conversation about the experience of dramatic text and a personal consideration of what the U.S. Constitution means to us as individuals and as members of a diverse community/communities. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.
We will also be joined by special guest commentators, including:
Jill Dolan is the Dean of the College and the Annan Professor in English and Professor of Theater at Princeton University. She is the author of many books, including "The Feminist Spectator as Critic," "Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre," "The Feminist Spectator in Action," and a critical study of the plays of Wendy Wasserstein. She received the 2011 George Jean Nathan Award for dramatic criticism for her blog, "The Feminist Spectator." She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
Joy Barnes-Johnson is the Science and Racial Justice Literacy Educator for Princeton Public Schools. She teaches and consults for various STEM education and racial literacy projects throughout the United States. Her research and writing interests examine training, policy and curriculum for equity in formal and informal settings.
Laura F. Edwards is the Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University and an affiliated scholar with the American Bar Foundation. She focuses on the legal history of the nineteenth-century United States, with an emphasis on people’s interactions with law and the legal system. Her most recent book, "Only the Clothes on Her Back: Clothing and the Hidden History of Power in the Nineteenth-Century United States," is coming out this January with Oxford University Press. The book reconstructs the economic world created by the legal principles associated with textiles, which allowed even people without rights to make legal claims to these goods. She is also author of "A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights" (2015) and "The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South" (2009), which was awarded the American Historical Association’s Littleton-Griswold prize for the best book in law and society and the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Award for the best book in southern history. She has received fellowships from the Newberry Library, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Bar Foundation.
Karen Thompson is a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), where she works on a wide range of issues, both civil and criminal, with a particular focus on racial inequality and criminal justice. She litigates in trial and appellate courts and advocates in partnership with community organizations around New Jersey. Prior to joining the ACLU-NJ, she was a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, where she successfully represented clients in post-conviction and appellate proceedings, vacating the wrongful convictions of clients in Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Karen was previously the Director of Scholarship Programs at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she advanced and modernized the programs for students interested in pursuing racial equity and social justice. She earned her M.A. in Performance Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
The guest commentators will share their professional and personal experience of reading "What the Constitution Means to Me" and offer insights to help form a platform for community discussion.
This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.
Need a copy of "What the Constitution Means to Me"? Library cardholders can access a physical or digital copy of the play, pending availability, by visiting the library or Hoopla. If you are not a library cardholder, please inquire at the 2nd floor reference desk about borrowing a copy purchased specifically for this event. You can also purchase a copy of the play at Labyrinth Books.
This program is presented in partnership with the McCarter Theatre Center and made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.