An Interview with Cherie Moore
This year The Last Tapes have been wowing New Zealand with their remarkable ‘Valerie.’ Luckily for us they have just arrived in Edinburgh…
Hello Cherie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Cherie: Hi! I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. While in Edinburgh I’ll be performing in the Cairns Lecture Theatre at Summerhall!
When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Cherie: I started singing when I was 7, and doing theatre when I was 13, so it seems my path was carved from an early age.
Can you tell us about your studies?
Cherie: I’ve had singing lessons since I was a kid. When I was a teenager I was in an auditioned youth theatre company. When I left school I did an arts degree in Drama and English, and then I went to drama school at The Actors’ Program.
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Cherie: Fearless story telling. Courageous connection. Humanity.
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Cherie: Nina Simone, Samuel Beckett, and Maya Angelou. For starters, caramelised fennel with toasted walnuts, I’d cook a spicy mango and coriander fish with coconut rice, broccoli and beans with lemon oil and sliced almonds for mains, and a dark chocolate mousse with raspberries for dessert.
Can you tell us about Last Tapes?
Cherie: Last Tapes is a small independent professional theatre company based in Auckland, New Zealand. We make and produce ‘theatre that gives a shit’. We’re interested in creating conversations through the medium of theatre, music, and live performance art.
You are bringing ‘Valerie’ to Edinburgh this August, can you tell us about both the play & your own role?
Cherie: Valerie is an investigation of family mythology – what’s passed down through stories, and through genetics. It’s part theatre, part music gig, part science lecture. It uses story-telling, original music, and science to unravel my husband Robin’s family story, and ask whether mental illness is due to nature or nuture, and if you’re aware of that loaded gun whether it’s possible to avoid the bullet. I mostly play the role of Valerie – Robin’s grandmother (I know, Freud would have a field day with that. We even look similar). The form of the show is exciting, and the role of Valerie is mostly concerned with bringing information from the past. I also do the majority of the singing in the show.
What’s your experience with playing a real person who is part of your own family?
Cherie: I’ve aimed to capture the essence of Valerie and the core characteristics she brings to the journey of the show. This isn’t me trying to mimic her, but rather represent her and bring her story to life. It was really special having her in the audience on the final night of our very first season. She’s an amazing woman and it’s an honour to hold her history in this way.
How, why & when does the live music blend with the narrative?
Cherie: The music and narrative are intertwined and interspersed throughout the piece. Not only are there songs that capture the feeling of a narrative moment, but the show is through scored with sound to create atmosphere. Music is a powerful tool and we love to be able to use multiple disciplines to communicate.
Have you or any of the cast ever performed at the Fringe before?
Cherie: No, and we’re really excited to be here!
How is your working relationship with the show’s creator, Robin Kelly?
Cherie: Ha ha, well we’ve been in a relationship for nearly 10 years, so I’d say our working relationship is beautiful, and complex, and has a depth of understanding and empathy that can only come with that much shared experience.
Do the cast socialise outside rehearsals?
Cherie: Absolutely! We all love each other and are genuinely best friends. I couldn’t imagine doing this show with anyone but the team we have.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street….?
Cherie: Hey! What are you doing at 9.15pm – because you should be coming to Summerhall to see Valerie – I promise it’s worth the ten pounds. It’s part theatre, part music gig, part science lecture. Valerie is an exciting interrogation of what the future holds in terms of inheritance. It’s a conversation about mental health. It’s a question – if your grandfather was mentally ill is it inevitable that you will be, or is it possible to claim an inheritance of resilience from your grandmother? It’s surprising, glamourous, and honest, and I’d love to see you there.
What will you & Last Tapes be doing after the Fringe?
Cherie: We’re rounding off the year performing at two arts festivals back home (we’ll have performed Valerie at most major festivals around NZ this year). I run an auditioned youth theatre company, teach singers, and direct shows, so I’ll be doing some more of that when we finish out touring for this year. Then, hopefully we’ll all be connecting with people we love, and taking what we learn at the festival with us on the next step in our journey with Valerie. In 2019 we hope to be touring Valerie internationally, and also collaborating with other artists to keep learning and to make new work.
August 1-27 (21.15)