In Spite of Everything

The three Bay Area spoken word artists known as the Suicide Kings aren’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects: The Kings’ new production of In Spite of Everything takes on school shooters. Jamie DeWolf (who’s in the Kings with Rupert Estanislao and Geoff Trenchard) tells us the premise for Everything: “The Suicide Kings lead a writing workshop in an English class at a school. The next day a student in that class comes armed, kills the class, kills the teacher and then himself. He leaves a note implicating us.” The play follows the Kings and school administrators as they confront the tragedy and search for answers, including their roles in the shooting.

“The play is told through verse, characters and poems,” says DeWolf. “It’s the new, emerging hip-hop theater; it’s certainly not traditional theater. It’s a dissection of where school shootings come from. Why do kids want to kill kids? What brings them to that boiling point? Is it the education system? Is it the media? Sex abuse? Bullying? What teenagers go through these days has nothing to do with what adults prefer they went through. It’s not just about acne and who do you want to go to the prom with.”

In Spite of Everything promises some answers. “If you come into the theater with no understanding of why kids come to school armed, why kids think about suicide, I think you’re going to walk out with a lot of those questions answered.” 8 p.m. today and tomorrow. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For tickets and information, call 713-335-3445 or visit www.diverseworks.org. $15.
Tue., March 18, 8 p.m.; Wed., March 19, 8 p.m., 2008

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Olivia Flores Alvarez