Express Yourself, the new show from ColdTowne Theater, began life as a parody of a specific genre of film: movies like Dangerous Minds, Finding Forester, and Freedom Writers, or what co-director Frank Netscher calls "white savior public school movies."
Co-director Ryan Darbonne further explains the familiar plotlines of the movies that inspired the show thusly: "this idea of a white savior coming into an urban school and trying to save these students who may or may not need saving." As production moved forward, however, the tone of the show moved away from parody and toward something more sincere. "If we had kept it a parody, it sort of would have belittled whatever message we were trying to get across," Darbonne says.
This newfound sincerity didn't come at the expense of the humor, though. The show is still a comedy, but one that attempts to actually say something about current social issues. Since it's also an improv show, each performance will be unique while adhering to a basic structure. It's set in a high school classroom, where a diverse group of improvisers will play a diverse group of students; a writing assignment from their earnest but naive teacher inspires what promises to be a humorous but real discussion.