Just ‘Wingin It!’: An inside look at CHS improv troupe


Calvin Young

Juniors Reese Daugherty, Josetta Checekett, and Trinity Johnson laugh together while playing a game. The Wingin’ It ! shows will not only get audience members laughing but members of the troupe too.

Wings, soda, and a lot of laughs all go into the performances of  Wingin’ It!, CHS’s improv comedy troupe.

Wingin’ It is a team effort, with both student and faculty leadership involved.

Junior Reese Daugherty is a member of the troupe, who joined her sophomore year.  Daugherty attended performances during her freshman year and decided that she wanted to give improv a try.

In order to become a member of Wingin’ It!, students must audition for the troupe.  Daugherty describes what that audition process for her was like. 

“We do warm-ups that get you immersed into the energy you’re supposed to have, and then we do basic improv such a scene with a person initiating a character relation and a conflict,”  said Daugherty. “That is something that they develop throughout auditions, to evaluate how you assimilate with that stuff.”

First-year Wingin’ It! troupe member Regan Storm is no stranger to improv as she has been attending their summer camp for the past two years.  Therefore when she got to high school, she knew she had to join the troupe. 

Doing the summer camp[…] led me to fall in love with doing improv and just being able to put myself out there so I knew that as soon as I was able to I wanted to join the official troupe.”

— Regan Storm

“Doing the summer camp[…] led me to fall in love with doing improv and just being able to put myself out there so I knew that as soon as I was able to I wanted to join the official troupe,” said Storm. 

The troupe then holds practices each Monday after school in the McGowan Auditorium, where they do warm-ups. These are followed by a variety of games that are played at their show.

Many of these games use audience suggestions in order to have the troupe improv on the spot.

The state trooper game is both Daughtery and Storm’s favorite game to play. In the game, one person will tell a story to a police officer; this person must then act out what they told the officer to their partner to attempt to get their stories to align.

“It’s my favorite game because it was the first game I learned at the summer camp that really let me be myself with it,” said Storm.  

These camps were the brainchild of the troupe’s adviser, Matt Fahnestock. Fahnestock is also in charge of running Student Council, as well as gifted support at CHS.

In 2005, while Fahnestock was an English teacher at CHS, he had the idea to start an improv club at the school after doing improv in both high school and in college.  He believed that having the ability to improv is very valuable to a person and wanted to bring that lesson to the students.  The troupe was an instant hit at the school.

“Back then we would pre-sell tickets to our show because I didn’t know how many people to expect […], so for our first show after months of practicing, we had our first performance and we sold out of tickets,” said Fahnestock.

In addition to the adviser for the troupe, there are managers who help with a lot of behind the scene work.    

One of these managers is junior Kyra Jackson who decided to get involved after seeing the group perform during her freshman year.   

“My freshmen year, I went to a lot of show and loved seeing and interacting with the troupe,”  said Jackson. “I had friends who were a part of it and encouraged me to express my interest to the adviser, Mr. Fahnestock.”

Jackson helps the troupe prepare for performances in a variety of ways.

“I help out at practices, manage social media, and help with a lot of the set up for the shows,”  said Jackson.

By helping out with the behind the scenes work, Jackson helps to ensure that the performers are able to put on a hysterical show.

Being a part of Wingin’ It! is much more than just performing improv; it is learning a skill that will carry on for the rest of one’s life. 

“Improv at its heart is about teamwork, collaboration, listening, thinking on your feet, and the ability to be flexible and make quick decisions,” said Fahnestock.

For the future of the troupe, Fahnestock hopes to work on putting the leadership of running the shows onto the wingmen. 

“I would like to get to a point where I am not really hosting the show so much as the performers are but it’s a tricky set of skills to balance with also performing,” said Fahnestock. 

In addition to this, the troupe will be celebrating it’s 15th year during the 2020-21 school year.  To commemorate this the troupe will be getting a new logo as well as hosting reunion show in December 2020, after the success of their last one celebrating 10 years.

The Wingin’ It! troupe is a truly unique aspect to CHS by not only bringing laughter into the school but also teaching skills that will carry its members on for a lifetime.