Trompoppie premieres on Showmax on 7 December 2023, with new episodes every Thursday until 8 February 2024.

When Luna, a talented gymnast, is awarded a bursary to a prestigious private school she could never afford, she is thrust into the cut-throat world of an elite group of drum majorettes, aka “trompoppies”. After a hazing ritual goes badly wrong, trompoppies start turning up dead and the seemingly perfect facade of the community begins to crumble.

Building on her 2023 Silwerskerm Best Actress: Drama nomination as Mart in Dinge van ‘n Kind, Melissa Myburgh stars in Trompoppie as Luna.

We caught up with Myburgh to find out more.

Did you know about drum majorettes before you got involved with the project?

Yes, I knew about drum majorettes. My school didn’t have it, but when I was six years old, we drove past a church where drummies were practising. My mother then took me to see them, and I wanted to be a part of it, but they trained seven days a week – and twice on Saturdays for six hours. My mom was like, ‘You’re six. No’. And my heart was broken! I wanted so badly to be a drummie when I was six years old. (laughs)

Tell us more about your character, Luna.

Luna is a gymnast. She is very good, very talented, and very ambitious, but she does not have the necessary money and opportunities to pursue it. Then along comes this rich lady, Jill (Marion Holm), to rescue her. She ends up in this private school, Deacon College, and everything seems wonderful and glittering and dazzling – until the end of the first episode.

What about the series stands out to you?

I think my favourite part of the series is that when you meet Luna, you see a bland, normal girl and you underestimate her. And this is what she wants.

So, as the series goes on, you question your own judgment. Luna is going to shock a lot of people; she is not what you expect.

The whole series is like that. Every time you think you know the recipe and you know what will happen in the next episode, or how it will go, everything is turned upside down again.

How similar are you to your character?

I think sometimes when people see me, they might also think, ‘She’s not very special’, and they underestimate me. Maybe it’s a bit fun because you can surprise people. (giggle)

I really resonated with her, and I feel like I learned a lot about myself from her. That’s what happens with characters sometimes – they become a mirror, and you start asking yourself questions.

We are both ambitious. Luna may be too ambitious. She’ll do whatever it takes to get where she needs to be, but I don’t think I’ll necessarily go that far.

How did you prepare for the role?

To prepare for Luna as a gymnast, I had gymnastics classes and we also had drum majorette lessons, where we learned a lot of basic movements and a routine. You can’t become a gymnast in a week, but luckily I have ballet training and I trained for six weeks before we started shooting and followed a diet like that of a gymnast so that at least I look like I know what I’m doing.

There was a body double, so the tumble through the sky was not me. The splits? Also not me.

How did you and the other actors who play drummies get along?

It felt like I could redo high school, but this time I wasn’t bullied.

I already knew Elzet (Nel) and Celeste (Loots), who play Mindy and Zanne, because we worked together on a film last year, and it was nice to be together again. In the series they’re so snarky and catty; they’re these ambitious teenage girls who are all really just trying to protect themselves and come out on top. But as soon as they call ‘cut!’, we’re friends. Jeez, we laughed and we went to drink wine. It was such a supportive environment. If one of us had a bad day, then the rest carried that person. It has always been my dream to have a group of women as friends, and I think I got it.

Why should people watch Trompoppie?

Viewers can look forward to mysteries, many twists, definitely action, and also how I fall on my bottom quite a few times. (laughs)

It’s entertaining, but I think the viewers are also going to start asking themselves, ‘What will I do to get what I want? How far will I go?’


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