Like delightful monologues? Hate the necessary evil of working for the government? You’re in luck: local spoken-word queen Missie Peters is back with a remount of her first solo show, the popular Public Confessions of a Public Servant. Originally seen at last year’s Fringe Festival, she’s back at Uno so that everyone who heard about it (but never actually saw it) now has the chance to find out what made this show the buzz of the both the Fringe and the BCGEU last summer. And, given the insider laughs coming from certain public service employees in the audience at Tuesday night’s show, Public Confessions was well worth the wait.
Written and performed by Peters—who, as the program notes, had worked in nine different government ministries when she wrote this show (a total that’s now up to 11)— Public Confessions breaks the cubicle wall to reveal the hidden joys, frustrations and soul-crushing numbness that comes with a career in public service. A self-described “sock in a world of nylons,” Peters confidently introduces herself by quoting her mother’s advice to “always dress for the job you want.” And while working for the provincial government may not have been on her childhood dream-job list (alongside journalist, spy and space colonist), it’s where she ended up . . . and, as this series of loosely connected office vignettes reveals, what pays the bills her poetry will not.
Director Alex Wlasenko (Atomic Vaudeville) wisely plays to Peters’ strengths here, offering a physical performance that is both measured and precise—much like her words—and puts her savviness as a spoken-word artist to good use; many of the segments culminate in poems that offer an ode to plastic, say, or a rumination on human (d)evolution. And it’s in these moments of poetic bureaucracy that Public Confessions works best; after all, riffing on cubicle life is nothing new, but only Missie Peters has the inherently sassy smarts and sensual irony necessary to make us care about her teeny tiny garbage can.
From a lightning riff through the glossary of acronyms (“the secret language of public service”) to the angst of working in a world where “governments, not hurricanes, leave people homeless,” Public Confessions is a smart, engaging fusion of traditional monologue and spoken word performance. If you’ve only ever heard about Missie Peters, don’t miss this chance to see her in action.
– John Threlfall
Read more about John Threlfall HERE
Public Confessions of a Public Servant
50 mins • PG 14+ Intrepid Theatre Club 1609 Blanshard