Cupertino Actors Theatre


Kenneth Jeon

With the 2019-2020 school year, the Cupertino Actors Theater has brought two shows to the stage: the first being the comedic murder-mystery, Clue, in fall, and the second being the newly minted satire, Ranked, in spring.

CAT began the year with Clue, a classic murder-mystery with a humorous spin, making for both a contained quintessential stage-play premise in which actors could personalize unique characters, as well as a more offbeat performance that emphasized an atmosphere of lightheartedness. Clue’s unconventional approach to its traditional story proved an exercise in tone and humor, through which CAT’s actors could flex their comedic talents while maintaining a personal style and complexity with their performances of each character.

In contrast to the more classical nature of a story like Clue, CAT’s second show took a slightly darker, more experimental direction. Cupertino High School was one of the first schools in the country to present Ranked, a new musical which tells the story of a dystopian world in which academic grades define each student’s societal worth. As one of five high schools performing the show in the 2019-2020 year, the story of Ranked seems to hold special relevance to Tino. Aside from the general competitiveness of the school and others like it in Silicon Valley, the show’s premier closely followed the college admission scandal of last year, which involved several schools from California and the Bay Area. CAT’s production of Ranked aimed to create a sense of scope, with prominent world-building elements,  such as the towering scoreboard that publicly displays each student’s grade, being essential to the show’s atmosphere and ultimate message.

Across these two shows, CAT actors and technicians encountered many opportunities to utilize a wide variety of theatre skills and abilities, ranging from nuanced performances finding balances between humor and drama, to creating expansive sets and immersive stories that serve to establish a deep connection with the audience.