In Spite of Everything is the latest entry into the emerging genre of hip-hop theater, featuring one of the Bay Area’s most dynamic spoken word collectives: The Suicide Kings. Under the direction of GOLDIE-award-winning Bay Area legend Marc Bamuthi Joseph, the play theatrically documents the Kings’ unlikely escape from the precipice of their lives to the center of the public school system in Northern California. The story begins the day after a school shooting in an un-named American town, and is a compassionate journey through the education system in the U.S., shifting male identities and archetypes, the systemic factors that contribute to the deluge of high school violence, and most importantly, survival through art.
The Suicide Kings are a spoken word power-house comprised of Geoff Trenchard, Jamie DeWolf, and Rupert Estanislao. Collectively, they are known for their explosive live performances combining gritty punk rock theatrics, a cappella hip-hop and vaudeville comedy. The Kings also facilitate workshops and host slams for the inmates in San Quentin Penitentiary and create feature length performances with at-risk youth. Their work has been featured on two seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, UPN, 60 Minutes and radio stations from the Midwest to the Phillipines.
The Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant (FAAR) Program is a pilot national initiative to support individual artists and work that is emerging from the field of hip-hop arts/future aesthetics and is administered by the Hip-Hop Theater Festival (HHTF) with funding provided by the Ford Foundation. The Suicide Kings have also received significant funding from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the City of Oakland and a Creation Fund Commission from the National Performance Network.