So, what is Capers?: SDSU’s annual sketch show is back

The 72nd year of the student-run show is happening this week, but what exactly is Capers? And why does everybody keep saying “woo?”

The 24 members of SDSU’s theatre honors society Alpha Psi Omega (APO) write, choreograph and produce the sketch comedy show each year.

“It is a fusion of Saturday Night Live and just pretty much any sketch show you can think of,” said Caleb Woodring, a senior theatre major. “The only thing that isn’t original is the music.”

According to Woodring, the show’s name changed year to year, until a few decades ago when the committee decided a definitive name would create consistency in year-to-year promotion. Thus, Capers was born.

“Woo” is typically said after someone says the word Capers. APO members said that the origin of the “woo” is a fraternity secret, but it is a catchphrase that brings cast members together and gets them excited about the production.

A few years ago, Capers was cleaned up because of raunchy themes and explicit language, Woodring said. Now the show is considered to be high school friendly.

“We’re not going out there to freak anyone out or make anyone uncomfortable,” said Grace Davison, senior theatre major and APO President. “We are trying to make it purely comedy.”

Woodring, one of the choreographers of Capers, said there are still a few dance numbers that may be considered suggestive. He said if audience members don’t want to risk being danced on, they should sit near the back or in the middle of an aisle.

APO members have been working hard to advertise and promote their show this year. Freshmen and sophomores are typically less familiar with what Capers is, Woodring said, but lately there have been more upperclassmen that aren’t sure about the production either.

One of the tactics used to inform students about Capers was an informational video shown at Miss/Mr. Homelycoming and Cavorts during Hobo Week, said Brooklyn Schwiesow, Capers’ publicity and promotions head. Schwiesow is a junior double major in theatre and speech communications.

Davidson said Capers is the second largest and second oldest SDSU event, ranking just under Hobo Day. This year’s show, “Live From Brookings, It’s Capers!” features 150 student performers. Davidson expects more than 350 audience members at each of the six shows. 

After auditioning in December, students practiced every day of the spring semester leading up to the shows, even weekends. There are Capers members from every major, Davidson said, and freshman mechanical engineering major Megan Fiala agreed.

“It’s very eclectic,” Fiala said. “There’s something for everyone here.”

Performances run from Jan. 24 through 28 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. in Doner Auditorium. General admission tickets are $11 and reserved seating is $14.

For students considering joining the Capers cast next year, nursing majors Carly Goodhart and Josie White only have two words of advice: “Do it.”