Hip-Hop Theater Festival

Just got home to wind down and check in with you about two plays that i’ve just seen. last night was watching the Suicide Kings Trio’s “In Spite of Everything” and tonite’s “Representa” which played at La Pena in Berkeley.

“In Spite of Everything”
It’s a theater piece that combines spoken word and interweaving personal stories of a school shooting and the questioning of 3 poets who last talked the shooter. INCREDIBLE! i was mezmorized watching the poets bare their souls and experiences in their poetry and stories. i was also impressed how they infused their delivery with a story of the police interviewing questioning them as it was their fault for giving this kid who killed 29 other kids in his classroom the idea to do this. they weaved personal stories with stories of other people who could be involved as to insights on why this happened. and that’s really the goal of this play – what could have made this person do this? this play that ran about 100 minutes with a 12-minute intermission blew me away. my favorite parts were the way one of the cops forensically told another detective exactly what happened in that classroom. “he fired two shots at that girl. (looking at a sheet) miss davis, one missed as you can see on the far wall another stuck in her abdomen. by this trail, she crawled to this spot before said shooter fired point blank into her temple…” and he continued to detail this slaughter WITHOUT feeling for the victims. matter of fact. by the book. were these all these kids were? matter of fact? then they’d mimic a news reporter who was only there for the story. then the dad of the shooter. powerful. and finally, they profiled the shooters from Columbine and that eventful day – in reverse! from the point where they committed suicide in library at 11:23 am and worked backwards: “the fire inhaled the smoke and bullet into the chamber of a 9mm with the eric kleebold’s hand moving back down” just incredible use of telling a story in reverse. at the end, using the fact that they travel the country facilitating poetry workshops, they encounter a kid who is quiet and ask him to share his feelings, not with guns, but with poetry. for more info on them, check out their myspace page: www.myspace.com/thesuicidekingstrio and their page: suicidekingsspokenword.com

Taken from La Pena’s site: REPRESENTA! A hilariously, entertaining & provocative bilingual play combining spoken-word and poetry. Despite an atmosphere laden with stereotypes and anxieties between North Americans and Cubans, Chicano spoken word poet Paul Flores & Cuban rapper Julio Cardenas struck up a friendship when they met at the Havana Hip-Hop Festival. A fiercely incisive commentary on terrorism, immigration, Cuba, U.S. foreign policy, Bay Area lefty culture, New York after 9/11 and pan-Latino identity. A bilingual theatre, which combines spoken-word poetry with character portrayals, that is hilariously, entertaining & provocative. Directed by Danny Hoch. Presented in conjunction with Hip-Hop Theater Fest, SFIAF, & Mission Cultural Center. Saturday at 4pm a post performance talk with artists.

Again, INCREDIBLE! the story telling is incredible as they weave a number of different characters from their personal lives that interact with each other. it’s hard to describe, but one that i definitely want to experiment with.

All in all – INSPIRED. not only do I want to Write, i want to perform.

Article by Conrad

Conrad's a San Francisco Bay Area Playwright. He loves long walks upon the concrete and rainy days. Aside from writing words for actors to regurgitate into an audience's ears and eyes, he loves sports, 90's R&B, and learning.

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