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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

Somewhat moving, Well acted, interesting plot, clever set

See it if you're hesitant to see something by a This Is Us writer, but are willing to give a small, well-acted play a chance.

Don't see it if you dislike small theaters. Can't think of another reason. This play is worthwhile.

Also Several plot strands and themes -- but the father-daughter relationshi... Read more Read less

Moving, Interesting

See it if You enjoy a good solid play that is well-written

Don't see it if You like a large-cast production

Also Interesting and moving play that is well-acted.

Relevant, Intelligent, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if you want to see topical issues dealing with government's role in our lives as it impacts a father & daughter.

Don't see it if you are adamant in your beliefs about women's reproductive rights and a Trump Republican.

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy heartwarming dramas with great acting and staging. Well told story about the choices we make in life and politics...go see it!

Don't see it if you're looking for a fast-paced, light-hearted show.

Relevant, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if Brings some humanity to the political landscape, and shines some light on ableism and political idealism

Don't see it if If you're looking for fast moving, or light hearted

Relevant, Slow, Disappointing, Cliched, Banal

See it if You like a traditional theatre experience telling a familiar story with characters who are easy to like.

Don't see it if You want something new or exciting. This play is very cookie-cutter and, though I like much of Brunstetter's other work--I was disappointed

Nice enough

See it if see it if you like dramas that aren’t too provocative or unsettling. It’s a thin story, nicely told and nicely acted, with a clever set.

Don't see it if You want your dramas to offer intense thought provoking substance,

Relevant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you don't mind a show whose story gradually unfolds. You like stories about relevant issues of today. You like small intimate theater.

Don't see it if you have a short attention span and need your theater to be akin to a video game. You prefer big, splashy productions.

Also Yes, it's a bit overwritten and the ending a little pat, but what's th... Read more Read less

Solid acting, Good attempt, Resonant, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you don't mind good actors working through a piece that still needs work. See it if you'd like to see something that has great potential.

Don't see it if You didn't like the playwright's "The Cake" or if you don't want to see a play about social issues.

Worthwhile, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if First and foremost, I was impressed by an actress with physical challenges. After the first moment, you no longer notice.

Don't see it if If you're looking for a big, flashy show, this is not it. Its staging however is very clever.

Resonant, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Clever

See it if you want to see a new play that emphasizes realism and how a city alderman interacts with daughter and citizen grievance. Funny but serious

Don't see it if you want a play that makes you laugh a lot or takes life light heartedly. Sets are clever but minimal. It's not showy.

During previews
Timely, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Slow, Disappointing

See it if Brunstetter's 2nd of a political trilogy set in North Carolina takes a time getting to subject matter (abortion) It's awkward but heartfelt

Don't see it if Broardwater's direction is often sluggish & Lentz's performance is amateurish but message is clear - all politics is local (and personal)

During previews
Great staging, Relevant, Resonant, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you like important messages in a play that needs better direction. TBTB goals are great and worthy of support.

Don't see it if you want great interaction among the characters. Difficult to enjoy with hard-to-hear male actor, overly warm theater & uncomfortable seat.

During previews
Plot-heavy, Great staging, Relevant, Slow, Ambitious

See it if You want to support an inclusive theatre company. You enjoy multi-plotted dramadies, ala This Is Us. You like character driven plays.

Don't see it if You want a focused play: A LOT of story crammed into 90 minutes & the stories jump around. You want more action, less character backstory.

During previews
Entertaining, Great staging, Absorbing, Slow

See it if Shows life in public service is not the easy to get things done. Its about three people who are living life, and the doing the best they can

Don't see it if Subjects that are mention in this show, some are little and some are more Abortion Mental Health Politics This is not a musical or flashy

During previews
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like a play with ordinary people who have ordinary problems. You get involved with the characters. The set is well done. Good acting.

Don't see it if you like lots of action or a flashy show.

Also You have a politician who is trying his best, a daughter who is ideali... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting

See it if Well-acted three character drama about a (disabled) woman worried about the value of her dead mom's property due to a town decision.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear the pain of the lady's personal life. (Play runs 95 minutes but pacing could be picked up with fewer pauses.)

During previews
Production that is in dire need of a shot or two of adrenalin, Slow, Excruciating, Banal, Community theatre level of production

See it if you want to see a play that has some very good ideas but the production overall is not well executed.

Don't see it if a slowly paced drama puts you to sleep within the first few minutes. Many audience members were in dreamland throughout the play.

Also Chris Henry Coffey, who plays the title character, has serious project... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Intelligent, Tedious, Uneven, Slow

See it if You are interested in the company Theatre Breaking Through Barriers and their efforts to present a play.

Don't see it if You can’t deal with a plot that develops excruciatingly slowly and a play in which there seems to be long pauses between spoken dialogue.

Also I saw the very first performance so presumably the timing will speed u... Read more Read less

During previews
Good acting, Slow-paced, Thoughtful

See it if A nice interweaving of personal stories, each w its own twist that takes place in a small town & addresses relevant issues. Quietly potent.

Don't see it if Not ok w languid pacing.(May get better thru prvws.) Plot incl talk of abortion. Can't forgive a few flaws incl a set that works & doesn't.

During previews
Great writing, Great staging, Resonant, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if You’re looking for a stand up play about our political world

Don't see it if You’re looking for easy entertainment

During previews
Slow, Intelligent, Relevant, Cliched

See it if you enjoy exploring the lives of characters who try to be good but don't always succeed and of characters with disabilities.

Don't see it if you expect realistic, three dimensional characters who act in complex nuanced ways. These characters were made for TV.

During previews
Needs editing, Manipulative, Insightful, Relevant, Fine acting

See it if you are like plays about a host of current issues, including politics, well drawn characterizations, human interrelationships & good acting.

Don't see it if you are tired of "hot button" political issues, people in distress and a somewhat manipulative & repetitive script .

During previews
Great staging, Funny, Slow, Relevant

See it if you want a slower-paced story that starts light and gets deeper. Great set! That's one heck of a picket fence.

Don't see it if you don't like small stories. This is the first weekend of previews, so I imagine chemistry between characters will improve.

Also If you saw The Cake, you'll be familiar with Bekah Brunstetter's style... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonant, Must see, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to understand nuance/stress of an official’s attempt to satisfy legitimate needs/wants of individuals as well as public and family.

Don't see it if you prefer light, happy, or uncontroversial themes, comedies, musicals, large casts/sets/theatres, or cannot sit 90 min. without interval.

Also The actor portraying Ed Sink sometimes speaks so softly and muffled th... 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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