From the award-winning author of Hings and HWFG comes a brand-new play for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2020.
Chris McQueer takes a look at social media celebrity culture with the story of Scotland’s most famous influencer, Agnes Aratoria. Unable to walk down the street without phones being pointed at her, unable to do anything without attracting hate and barely keeping it together while people comment on everything she does, she finally snaps and unplugs herself from the internet. As she does a runner to the Highlands, can she dodge her fans, the press and her management team, as well as her own past, as she attempts to just get a bit of peace.
Is Agnes based on anyone in particular, or a kind of composite?
She’s a sort of composite, based loosely on people like Jamie Genevieve and other kind of social media celebrities. Their careers are really fascinating to me, especially people who vlog almost every aspect of their lives and manage to make a good living from doing that. I just wanted to tell a story about the pressure they must feel to live perfect lives and how it must feel to be so exposed all the time. People watching your every move must really mess with your head and I wondered what would happen if someone like this just had enough and did a runner.
Have you ever had to deal with social media anxiety, and to what extent does your work reflect this?
Aye, I do get it a wee bit. Social media has been creeping into my work more and more, it’s so deeply rooted in every part of my life now. There has been times where I’ve felt like doing a runner myself. Throwing my phone away, moving to some wee cabin in the woods up north somewhere and just going completely off the grid. I think a lot of people maybe feel a bit like that and I just wanted to see what would actually happen if someone did that, so I’ve poured a lot of my own anxieties into Agnes and made them a lot worse.
How has the process been in creating this show? Your work straddles so many different disciplines.
It’s been great fun. I’m in a really lucky position where I get the chance to do mad stuff like this all the time and I absolutely love it. I’d written a wee short 7 or 8 minutes play for Short Attention Span Theatre (where I’ll have another short play performed at the comedy festival in March) two years ago and from then on I’ve been really into screenwriting and playwriting. My long term goal is to write a script for a film, or maybe a one-off hour long drama type thing for the telly. I just say aye to any opportunity I’m presented with, and throw myself into it.
25th March 2020
Tron Theatre, 9pm.Recommended Age: 16+