Cherie Atkinson interview
Thursday, October 28, 2021 – 12:20 a.m.
Cherie Brophy Atkinson is a board member of the Yoknapatawpha Players Theatre Troupe.
She was transported from the scene to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, where Detectives Magee and Beckwith talked to her.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Cherie Atkinson
Detective Beckwith: Cherie Atkinson, we'd like to speak to you now.
Cherie Atkinson: All right, hold on a sec.
Detective Beckwith: You're on our time, Ms. Atkinson. We don't have all night.
Cherie Atkinson: Fine, y'all are a pushy bunch. I don't wanna be here anyway.
Detective Beckwith: I'm Detective Beckwith, and this is Detective Magee. Could we get your full name and address for the record?
Cherie Atkinson: Record?
Detective Magee: Yes, we need your name and address in case we need to speak to you again.
Cherie Atkinson: I doubt y'all will have to do that.
Detective Magee: Just the same, we will need your name and address.
Cherie Atkinson: Cherie Brophy Atkinson. 999 Muirfield Drive in Oxford.
Detective Beckwith: What is your connection to the rehearsal tonight?
Cherie Atkinson: I'm a Yoknapatawpha Players board member. My husband, Glenn, started this whole troupe. When he died, I took his place on the board.
Detective Magee: What do you do for a living outside of being a board member here?
Cherie Atkinson: Paint my nails. I don't have to work if that's what you mean.
Detective Beckwith: Why were you at the warehouse today?
Cherie Atkinson: We had a rehearsal for this stupid immersive theater show. Us board members were the guinea pigs to see if it was gonna work. Obviously, it ain't gonna.
Detective Beckwith: Not if people die people during the show.
Cherie Atkinson: I wasn't talking about that. I meant that immersive plays don't work. Even if this thing went off without a hitch, which it didn't, it was never gonna be anything more than a middlin' haunted house sorta deal.
Detective Magee: Okay, take me through the events today. When did you get to the theater?
Cherie Atkinson: 5:45 p.m.
Detective Beckwith: What was your role in the show?
Cherie Atkinson: I just told y'all. I was a guinea pig audience member for the show. The main plot for this stupid thing was evidently that some disease was turning everyone into zombies, and the military had a cure or some nonsense. Ervin Cyr and I had to play "Rambo" to hold off the zombies until the other board members found the cure.
Detective Magee: And Ervin Cyr is?
Cherie Atkinson: Another board member—who I'd least want to be in a group with.
Detective Magee: You sound like you weren't really into the play.
Cherie Atkinson: Amazing. You're damn perceptive, Detective. Look at me. What about me says "Rambo?"
Detective Magee: Pretty much nothing.
Cherie Atkinson: That's how I knew everything was going to implode from the start.
Detective Beckwith: Including having a man die?
Cherie Atkinson: Are you following along? Scott's death was an accident.
Detective Beckwith: I have been following along. It seems that you're more worried about your troupe's reputation than that a man died today.
Cherie Atkinson: That's not true. I'm only saying that the play itself, as mind-numbingly stupid as it is, ain't the reason for Scott's death.
Detective Magee: What is the reason?
Cherie Atkinson: A set malfunction, I guess. Like I said, an accident.
Detective Magee: I doubt a man's death in your show due to a set malfunction will be good for your reputation either.
Cherie Atkinson: What part of "it was an accident" do you not understand? Harrison Ford busted his leg when a piece of the set fell on him during "Star Wars" filming a couple years back. That didn't stop millions of geeks from watching "The Force Awakens."
Detective Beckwith: So only the theater's bottom line matters?
Cherie Atkinson: No. But I don't think Scott would want us to close up shop because of an accident … as bad as this one was.
Detective Magee: Okay, before we went on this tangent, you were saying that the actors had you protecting some of the other board members from zombies. With guns?
Cherie Atkinson: Fake guns that made noise but didn't shoot anything.
Detective Magee: Then what happened?
Cherie Atkinson: That's all that happened. We ran around aimlessly from zombies for an hour until we ended up in the back of the warehouse. Then it was over, thank God.
Detective Beckwith: Did you, at some point, get separated from the other board members?
Cherie Atkinson: Yeah, we met up with the other board members eventually in the mobile hospital lab. The zombies attacked there, and we all ran out the back door. Martin Vargas, one of the actors, told us to hide among the crates and other junk they had out back of the lab. It was so the zombies could scare us one by one, I think. Like I said, stupid.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see Scott then?
Cherie Atkinson: No. I mean, I don't know. The crew was doubling up as zombie extras for this show, so I couldn't tell who was who under all that makeup.
Detective Magee: Did you see Scott at any time today?
Cherie Atkinson: No.
Detective Magee: When did you first hear of the accident?
Cherie Atkinson: Like a few minutes after the show was over, one of the crew came running into the back area of the warehouse that we were all at, screaming, "I need help! Scott got hurt."
Detective Beckwith: What did you do?
Cherie Atkinson: Nothing at first. I thought it was a tacky surprise ending to this dumpster fire of a play.
Detective Beckwith: When did you realize that this was a serious incident?
Cherie Atkinson: When actors who were playing dead zombies stopped acting.
Detective Magee: What did you do then?
Cherie Atkinson: Well, Ervin, Neal, and Denis all took off running right away. I followed after them but tried to stay out of the way because I ain't Rambo, remember?
Detective Beckwith: Who is Neal?
Cherie Atkinson: Neal Caine, one of the board members.
Detective Magee: And Denis?
Cherie Atkinson: Our playwright—or at least that's what he calls himself.
Detective Magee: Okay. What did you see when you got to the accident scene?
Cherie Atkinson: Ervin, Neal, Denis, and that one crew member were lifting part of the mobile hospital lab off of Scott.
Detective Magee: So you saw the body?
Cherie Atkinson: Yeah. From a distance.
Detective Magee: Did you ever go up to the body?
Cherie Atkinson: No. Ervin was doing CPR. I didn't know how to help, so I stayed back.
Detective Beckwith: All right, that's all the questions we have for you right now. As we said earlier, we may have to speak with you again.
Cherie Atkinson: And you got my name and address in your little black book. I got it, Detective.
Interview ended – 12:43 a.m.