BCG chats to Fiona Sagar about Entitled, her debut solo Fringe character-comedy show.
Hi Fiona. How's the festival going so far for you?
It's going really well thank you. I'm lucky to have had full houses.
Whilst you have been to the Fringe before, this is your debut solo show. How have you found performing by yourself?
It's definitely a lot of hard work by myself but I'm enjoying the flyering process, getting out there and selling my show by performing some of my characters!
So, yes, you mention characters. What is the show about?
It's character comedy; a sideways glance at entitlement today. It features a self-obsessed millennial who think she is in her own Truman Show; a charlatan princess (Pippa Mids) who is advertising all her endorsements, such as her best seller 'Boiling Eggs Requires Water; and Mark the Man (Basic Bro on the pull).
There's also Maureen Classless, celebrity fundraiser for the C.U.N.T.S (Celebrities Undervalued Needing Talent and Support); MP Sir Lord Bertie Jokster, playing in his playroom, I mean 'working in his office'; and The Granny, loosely based on my own matriarchal Scottish granny who doesn't know what to think of the world she's living in today. On the one hand she is shocked at the privilege we young ones take for granted and on the other hand she expects special treatment. She's fierce!
'Entitlement' is an interesting concept. Have you had to take a look at your own thoughts and values whilst writing the show?
Yes absolutely, I include the self-obsessed millennial to be self-mocking. If I'm writing a social commentary on entitlement in our country today, I have to include myself in this. I think we are all a bit fed up of the entitled.
Why are the Honours lists full of millionaire celebrities? They seem to get these awards for doing what they are paid to do and want the accolades for further personal gain. What about all those carers and workers paid on minimum wage for thankless jobs? These are the people who should be getting OBEs. There are thousands of people being outstanding citizens yet we only hear about the elite few who think they are entitled to whatever they want and they seem to get it too. What about those thousands of BHS workers who worked hard all their lives, who have lost their jobs and will also have a reduced pension?
It still confuses me that some of these rich people getting all these recognitions are the same ones avoiding paying a fair share of their taxes. They seem to be accountable to no one.
My family predominantly work in the NHS and not only do they go above and beyond at work (they don't leave a patient just because it's 5pm as they have a social event that evening) but they also do endless charity work in their own time. This is not for personal gain nor do they make a song and dance about. It's the right thing to do because we have nice lives we therefore help those who have less. And I wonder why are we losing this generosity in our society? Some seem to only what to give if they're to get something in return.
I work part time in schools and I often think about what we are teaching and examples we are setting the future generation. The kids see some morally questionable people succeeding or people having instant success through these reality shows. Hard work and compassion are losing recognition socially; while money and image are taking centre stage.
It is a different time today and why I put my Granny character (she's really funny by the way, and I'm told an accurate Scottish Granny!) at the end, who is disgusted at all the greed and selfishness that is ripe today.
Is comedy something you've always wanted to do Fiona, or is this an unplanned path you find yourself going down?
Making people smile is my personal daily challenge on or off stage! I've always wanted to be an actor and performing comedy is a lovely addition.
Can being funny be taught? We note you've worked with some leading industry professionals to develop your skills.
I think, if we can stop worrying about people judging us, we've all got a playful side. This is my job so I want to keep working on being the best performer I can be so that means learning from the best. I am lucky to have trained with some amazing people and companies such as Mike McShane, Doctor Brown, Second City and The Groundlings.
How are you filling time between shows? We noticed from your Twitter feed that your Dad came to your show...
Yes, my family are very supportive and Dad was up at the start of festival. My mum is from Lanarkshire and I have a large extended family coming in and out visiting me.
I'll be sure to be working my way around as many shows and culinary delights as possible (which reminds me, I passed The Codfather last night, so must pop back there. Advertising really works on me).
What's next for you Fiona? Will you return for the 2017 festival?
I'd love to take my show back to London, and then tour it. I've already got my idea for my next show which I should stop telling people about, as it's a really good idea and I want to do it!!
The great thing about spending this time working on a comedy show has meant I've opened up the creative floodgates and there are so many more characters I want to write and play now. I will also be heading back to LA to continue training with The Groundlings.
'Fiona Sagar: Entitled' is at Cabaret Voltaire at 7:15pm until the 28th August (not 16th). Listing
See also: Fiona answers our 10 Fringe questions