by Case Aiken · August 13, 2014
The Fiery Sword of Justice is sadly not about a literal flame covered saber imbued with literary virtue, but instead about a metaphoric one, the writer/performer herself. Lauren Letellier was a mover and shaker in the world of PR and advertising, but couldn’t let her moral compass stray off course, so she quit the business and now has put together a one woman show in this year’s NYC International Fringe Festival to tell us about it. Her thesis is that in order to make it in advertising, you have to be emotionally damaged, preferably from a home that had a lot of both substance and physical abuse contained within its walls. Now, this is a cool concept. She goes into detail to point out each “type” of person who finds there way into the PR world, noting all the yes-men and over-achievers that make up the field. She’s engaging too, which I guess is to be expected given her job being rooted in pitching ideas to people. The problem is that it just never comes together. Every staging element incorporated to bring out the theatricality of the piece falls flat or distracts from the more analytical components of the piece. Technical elements are limited in the show. The set is austere and the lights are bright and constant. This led to a unique situation for me where I ultimately didn’t love the show but found the performer charming and came out of it wanting to have a more in depth conversation about the subject matter, which traditionally are my primary metrics for whether I enjoyed a one person show.
While I feel that if this were presented in more of an essay form, or perhaps a video, I would have liked it more, I do have to side on liking the piece. Letellier has some really interesting things to say about the type of people who excel at spin. For example, the best bit in the whole show was a moment of reflection where she confirmed that corporations are in fact people, but the very broken kind who make up their personnel. I will still recommend this overall even though I feel more observations like this might further my enjoyment of the show.