In 2012 the Canadian public sector experienced widespread cutbacks, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of federal jobs. Responding to the demoralized culture of surveillance and censorship among public servants that followed the crisis, Common Boots Theatre (formerly Theatre Columbus), developed The Public Servant, created by Jennifer Brewin, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie, and Amy Rutherford.The Public Servant is a feminist, populist comedy that both skewers and ennobles the work of public servants. This article explores the political consequences of drawing attention to impossible situations through comedy, and considers the place of comedy in feminist cultural critique. The Public Servant celebrates the absurdity and mundane heartbreak of modern life through the emotional canon of the clown. The adventurous, subversive anarchy of the Lecoqschool of clown, coupled with the decentralized power of collective creation, drives Common Boots Theatre toward work that confronts chaos and failure, making moments of loss and disaster generative and politically rich. The Public Servant demands that audiences examine the value of work in a changing political landscape. Will the status of women in government and leadership, and the way the public values their work, change with a new government?


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pp. 72-77
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