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Public Servant

From 98 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Slow

About the show

Theater Breaking Through Barriers kicks off its 40th Anniversary season with this world premiere drama by Bekah Brunstetter ("This Is Us") about a county commissioner and a woman who needs his help. More…

In "Public Servant," Ed has been newly elected as county commissioner. Ed is one of the good ones. With his daughter Hannah by his side, he is going to change the world -- or at least his little corner of it. Meanwhile, all world-weary Miriam needs is for a city inspector to sign off on some paperwork. Disillusioned with the system but desperate, she turns to Ed for help with what should be a simple request. But in the world of politics, is anything ever simple?

Member Reviews (98)


Relevant, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Slow
Avg Score

Indulgent, Edgy, Funny, Ambitious

See it if A show that starts out fine but spirals after an hour. Good set design and lighting and Ed 's role is well done.

Don't see it if If you dont want a show that gets needlessly political. If you dont want a political show that is pointless in its politics.

Sincere, Amusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of TBTB, enjoy slight but edgy works, interested in civic vs. individual responsibilities, family relations, like optimism

Don't see it if not interested in issues faced by the disabled or out of touch elected officials, don't like father-daughter stories or awkward set changes

Slow, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if Three who try to deal a clean hand in a political world stacked with wrong. Care given to avoid southern caricatures. TBTB.

Don't see it if TBTB. Picket fence set. Theatre with purpose often sacrifices theatricality, as in ALL the basics: What's left is a "yeah, but..."

Also Your tipping point might be "The Cake" or "This is Us."

Great staging, Ambitious, Slow

See it if Great use of minimal set; not easy being a public servant or a father - then again, life isn't easy; caring conquers opposing viewpoints.

Don't see it if you want a fast paced play with action & snappy dialogue; sometimes the plot & the acting feel forced - is it the writing or direction?

Okay but doesn't go deep enough and have a real point of view.

See it if You appreciate new plays about relevant subjects.

Don't see it if You want a sharp honed play about a sensitive matter.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You like small shows with talented casts, an interesting story, and great staging.

Don't see it if You want a story that has more depth. While the characters are interesting and the story worth telling it felt very one note.

Good acting, Well written, Creative set design, Real contemporary issues

See it if A local councilman deals with political issues & tries to meet the needs of both constituents & family; simple at first then it gets harder.

Don't see it if You are an ardent right to lifer. Many themes intertwined by three actors, confusing at times.

Quirky, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy plays contrasting the reality of life and politics with family relationships; if public service in general is a topic of interest.

Don't see it if You do not like confronting the realities and conflicts of public service. You do not like plots about complicated family relationships.


See it if Young, idealist woman leaning left asks why commissioner dad is in pub service, for himself or for good? Disabled woman character is great.

Don't see it if Abortion is triggering. Slow for 80% until the end when things get more interesting.

Also Diversity: 1 disabled woman actor among an all white cast of 3.... Read more Read less

Appealing set, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if You are a fan of this author and want to see a timely piece which is not as good as The Cake.

Don't see it if You need compelling drama to be satisfied in the theatre. This is interesting, but not a must-see.

Touching, Thoughtful, Slow, Great staging

See it if you want a slow, quiet, slice of life portrait of the modern South that doesn't trade on stereotypes; you like dialogue-heavy pieces

Don't see it if you need a flashy performance; you don't want frank engagement with ability or female sexuality; you aren't willing to wait for a payoff

Also There was a lot to like about this show, but it took a really long tim... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Absorbing, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you're like TBTB productions and love supporting their efforts; you want a good story with 3 excellent actors

Don't see it if you only like musicals

Don't go public

See it if Remodeled theater complex in a convenient location is a draw. This Is Us fan who craves more of the writer.

Don't see it if Just don't.

Also Broadwater apt director surname. NC set play takes on too much water. ... Read more Read less

Mediocre production, Good concept, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if ... you'd like an interesting story about a local commissioner with family/parenting problems. Slow pacing. Understated writing and acting

Don't see it if .. you prefer high drama and intense conflict

Slow, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see three wonderful actors, very creative set with fence becomes office/ garden/ kitchen all at once,family drama, pro life etc

Don't see it if You do not like slow plays that gives you slice of life

Relevant, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You want to explore the father/daughter dynamic.

Don't see it if You are looking for light and breezy.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you appreciate a well-produced small scale family drama

Don't see it if you prefer dancing girls and broad comedy

Realistic, Interesting sets, Great use of stage

See it if you want to relate to every day problems that are often swept under the carpet.

Don't see it if you expect a happy, light-hearted show.

Resonant, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want a thought provoking show that makes your mind wander to tangential matters.

Don't see it if you want to see a musical-which this is not.

Tries to do too much, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great writing

See it if you like very inclusive shows about relevant subjects or you like shows about hard-hitting topics. Great set design.

Don't see it if you're expecting a Bway-ready show, or a tight production. The script was very hit or miss, the directing needed to be tighter. Very slow.

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you enjoy a very unique, creative set; plays that display how politics can unfold in a real life situation.

Don't see it if You love high budget productions.

Banal, Slow, Insipid, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if Cannot think of any reason anyone would like this.

Don't see it if Banal and poorly constructed story, with very poor staging and acting. Ending could be seen a mile away.

Intelligent, Refreshing, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in politics, physically disabled, family relationships; good acting; an enjoyable night out

Don't see it if you like musicals or shows with many characters or big productions/sets or are uncomfortable seeing a very talented disabled actress

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate creative set design, true-to-life characters.

Don't see it if you prefer large casts.

Relevant, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You like theater based in realism where characters explore relevant issues like abortion, women's relationships with their bodies, power

Don't see it if you don't enjoy moral quandaries. Definitely don't see it if you are rigid in a solidly pro-life stance.

Also I was very pleasantly surprised by this play. I didn't know what to ex... Read more Read less

June 11th, 2019
“’Public Servant’ is the second part of a trilogy that started with Ms. Brunstetter’s ‘The Cake’...The new play is about parenthood, paternalism and what it means to work for the people...’The Cake’, though, is a more polished and organic work than ‘Public Servant’, whose plot and dialogue can se...
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June 6th, 2019
"A heartwarming vision of how life could be, if not a particularly enthralling drama...Although their performances feel broad, the three actors fully commit to each beat...Director Geordie Broadwater crafts some tender moments between the actors, but it's not enough to compensate for a sluggish p...
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June 7th, 2019
“Under Geordie Broadwater's direction, the action ambles at an unhurried pace, taking time for moments of insight into three sadly deprived lives...And sometimes Brunstetter's throwaway sense of humor casts a strangely revealing light...The cast is adept at inhabiting this scratchy, solitary trio...
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June 6th, 2019
"Edmund T. Morris' white picket fence that greets us inside Theatre Row for Theatre Breaking Through Barriers' world premiere of 'Public Servant' may not initially impress us, but it proves before long to be the ideal metaphor for Bekah Brunstetter's gripping play - it's both deceptively simple a...
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