The three sophomores Prager, Curnutt and McGhee posing after their first show together.
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Cactus Shadows Improv Troupe kicks off the school year with its first performance


Katlyn Ewens

CAVE CREEK – A couple of weeks ago, the Cactus Shadows High School Jokers Improv Troupe kicked off its season with the first of four school year shows.

The auditorium was full of friends, families and others looking for a good laugh. About 10-15 minutes before the show, guests are asked to either text in answers to the questions presented, or write random quotes or song lyrics on pieces of paper. Most of the suggestions are incorporated into the show.

As each show does, this one started off with an introduction by the two senior co-captains Alexa Dragone and Joey Britton, both of who are seasoned Jokers. The two of them explained the format and certain things about audience participation during the show, which is critical in improv.

Next up, the Jokers take the stage. Introduced by one of their co-members, each takes the stage one by one, in the order of class rank, starting with the freshman

The Jokers take the stage next, not one-by-one, but in groups. Each of the groups provide entertaining impromptu speaking through different activities. From guessing games to charade-like challenges, it really is a great variety.

The 23-member troupe is overseen by theatre teacher and drama club sponsor Andrew Cupo, and it's always changing. Each year, there are new members that join and old ones that do not. Being on the team one year, does not ensure that a member will make the team the next. At the end of each season, Cupo holds auditions to select the next Jokers.

The Improv Troupe is just a part of the impressive Cactus Shadows drama department. Each year, the department also puts on four main stage performances. This year those will be Peter and the Starcatcher, Greater Tuna/A Tuna Christmas, Little Women, the Musical, and the Senior Directed One Acts.

Many of the performers in these productions are dedicated member of the Drama Club and/or the Thespian Society, both of which fall under the Drama department.

Didn't make it to the Jokers' opening show? Not to worry, there are more to come.

The Jokers will take the stage three additional times this school year on Nov. 4, Feb. 10, and April 21, all at 7:30 p.m.

They normally sell out a day or two before the show. For more information on times and ticket purchasing, visit the Cactus Shadows Drama department website through the Cactus Shadows site at or contact Andrew Cupo.