Death by Cheerleader
Death by Cheerleader promises to poke fun at our national institution, and expose a few….secrets along the way. Renee Liang talks to co-creator Claire Van Beek about what it takes to be a Cheer Black.
* * *
Murder, rugby and cheerleaders…even the opening premise promises a great, if grisly time. Add comedic timing and high-energy physical theatre and these three women will have you exercising your (laugh) muscles in no time.
Who are the creative team behind Death By Cheerleader?
The Cheer Blacks are Julia Hyde, Claire van Beek and Amy Waller. It is all us!! Our wonderful director Jonny Brugh (who was involved in the early stages) got offered the opportunity to perform with Apollo 13 in Australia, so it is all us- we are writer, producer, actor, director... and yes, it is full on!
You all look the part (fab publicity photos, by the way!) Have any of you had cheerleading experience?
Thanks! Cheerleading experience huh? Well Julia Hyde did ballet for a week when she was 5 then dropped out, Claire was a competitive gymnast 'til she got a hernia aged 7, and had to drop out after her operation BUT Amy however, yes she has the Cheerleading experience. She's been professionally cheering since her teens... she is a professional dancer. we (Julia and Claire) are just the ‘fakers’.
What is it about cheerleaders that makes them compelling dramatic material?
There's a lot you hear about Cheerleaders... but we never really know what goes on behind the scenes, it's an intriguing profession. Some of the stories we have heard....
There is a lot of opportunity for comedic content and satire. The well known stereotypes of cheerleaders have been well established as an american phenomenon for many years but what people may not know is the cheerleading culture that has emerged here in New Zealand - it's a very different style here. More emphasis on dancing, less on tricks. Since we have a first hand insight through Amy Waller herself being a cheerleader the revelations have been often comical sometimes scandalous and certainly compelling so we hope we can translate some of these stories to audiences that makes for dramatic material.
When it comes to compelling... high energy shows are just so engaging and uplifting.... it's fun to be an audience member in shows which are slick, up beat, fresh, risky, varied and ‘hot’. We don't take ourselves too seriously.... and everyone loves a montage.....
Marrying cheerleading with The Rugby World Cup with the suspicious death of an All Black... hmm very compelling and dramatic stuff!
Apart from rugby (and rugby players), what drives the characters (without giving too much away?)
Without giving too much away... the sense of pride and responsibility that cheering for the All Blacks brings. They are such proud kiwis, and will do (almost) anything to protect their national identity. They are so passionate that their passion perhaps blinds them as to the reality of their dancing ability (or lack there of). The complete, unfaltering belief in their dreams. And this driving force also sees the team breakdown and put their dreams in jeopardy. Oh, and each character carries a secret..... but we can't say anything more....
Are you planning another outing closer to the World Cup?
Hmm we sure are! We have been invited to perform at Bats September 20- 24th, and we hope to accompany that with a tour throughout some of the different wonderful towns of New Zealand, performing along side the Rugby World Cup.
- Death by Cheerleader