The SEVEN Methods of killing Kylie Jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones
I loved this play! And as I said on my social platforms, it’s probably the best thing I’ve seen this year.
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Being a bit older than my millennial counter-parts - and definitely guilty of not Keeping up with the Kardashians, I was skeptical at first because of the title, including the killing part, but was curious about how a Killing of such an iconic white woman would/ could be justified.
It managed to not only articulate the meaning of the title but did a fabulous job at expressing my inner thoughts and feelings - offering humor as a topping. The writer, Jasmine Lee Jones, unapologetically embraces the rhythm that is Black and British – influenced probably by writers like debbie tucker-green, as well as the British grime scene.
Check out my review Poet in Da Corner that dives deep ito all things grime :)
I also enjoyed the multidimensional meanings of cyber profile names, intersectionality and using the platform of theatre to take us on a journey of understanding Cleo and Kara - the stereotypical Angry, Black Women and what has caused their pain!
Very Clear… or so I thought, especially when the Eastern European couple sat behind me commented on how inciting and educational the titled production had been to them.
I walked out gleaming, and literally Laughed Out Loud throughout. Super grateful that the Royal Court, who has consistently supported my endeavors’ to build my own platform of sharlareviews once again commissioned work around my personal politics.
See my review on SALT.
But as I sat on the tube home, deciphering how I’d articulate what I had experienced; the Evening Standard sat opposite me - opened on a review about this exact play!
Nick Curtis, their reviewer hadn’t had the same experience - and commented that the production was loud and ‘wearing ’, ‘unrooted’ and ‘a clumsy attempt to indict the audience at the end’.
It pushed me out of my own comfortable interpretation into another perspective (which is a commonality for Black Women) and made me become conscious of the moments that may have been exclusive.
His review therefore worked as an opposing/ conflicting view to mine, a perfect balance for a well-rounded review.
It reminded me of one of Cleo’s opening speeches where she describes handing in her essay on “the effects of colonialism of the black female form” and was marked down because she didn’t show “two sides of the argument”.
She comments “Two sides. To slavery! White people be wilin”
And so… I respond… with my...
Seven Methods of Killing White Patriarchal Perspectives:
1. Unrooting is not the end of a relationship but potentially the beginning.
The relationship between Cleo and Kara is clear and very rooted. The opening scene is set in Cleo’s bedroom; they share and discuss intimate details of sexual experiences, break into rhyme and repetitive DJ Khalid rhetoric throughout as well as having a natural fun vibe between them when watching -that I cannot and will not try to quantify!
2. Not just Microcosm worlds but layers to meaning.
The role-play of Twitter users in the Twitterlude scenes are not just a testament to both Tia Bannon (playing Kara) and Danielle Vitalis’ (playing Cleo) acting ability but an example of what I mentioned earlier about one thing meaning many…. “There are levels”
We watch two friends in a room actually play the cyber users - exaggerating a fake reality that is not just the Internet but is also the theatre. So to clarify they are both acting as these people as well as mocking these people... simultaneously. This point was definitely missed by our friend of the Evening Standard – and his comment about the ending which I will explore in 7) exposed this!
Pause - It is this linear (basic) way of thinking that is at fault here – and I see this way of thinking as very masculine in energy and western in logic.
3. If we forgive you, will you forgive us?
The taboo surrounding homosexuality and its place in/ outside our community Jasmine cleverly delivers with ease and class. Paying attention to the nuances surrounding marginal voices and calling out hypocrisy! Kara’s character, who is gay, avoids the distracting stereotypes that are usually associated with sexuality and I really enjoyed the strength in her comfortability. I summorise and question the hypocrisy of the linear thinker as...
If racism is a thing of the past I should get over, can you get over my past two homophobic tweets?
4. The stain of racism is called colourism!
Colourism has to be a feature. Because colourism is one of the issues hese friends haven't dealt with. Not 'unrooting' as in lack of depth (suggested by our critic) but 'unrooting' as in uprooting the shit!
Rather than just cast two actors of didn’t shades to tick a neat box, the production deals with the differences of experiences head on. We hear both sides – from being objectified to being invisible. It was a heated debate as the pain (caused by a historical agenda to divide Africans) is the ‘un-rooting’ in the friendship our critic refers to. However, knowing this - with the extra dose of what it means to be a Black woman with a white mother, I see un-rooting in friendship a necessity. It’s called honest communication and if you survive this - what is called a best friend, transforms into a sistren!
5. Idolisation is a sin, especially when you are a God-dess.
Following on from this - the idolisation of Jenner being killed is actually symbolic of Cleo’s feelings of exclusion, bullying and erasure. And I thoroughly enjoyed how Cleo transforms into upholding her own value. This tranformation is initiated by Kara, especially in her temporary absence. From Cleo trying to fight the machine, which for me didn’t just represent Twitter but the system at large, to un-programming and connecting with herself instead. The only cyber space connection being made after the tranformation is a connection with her ancestors.
The pace and volume that our critic found ‘wearing’ may have excluded him, yes – as this is fast paced, vibrant and loud! My fear of not being able to Keep up with the Kardashians were obliviated and cast onto a people who share a marginalised view to not embrace the ways, views, pace and volume of a marginalised source!
6. There's a thing we call #shoutout #payingrespect #standing on the shoulders of.
Homage to the ancestors is paid! Saartjie Bartman is the example Cleo mentions and demonstrates just how the Black body was and still is used for white profit.
Can I tie together realms and ancestors please?
Kara really embodies the evolution of spirituality over religion, sexual freedom and expression - and I also took note that her identity of being mixed race accents this liberation from convention.
The initiation of smoking not just any spliff but a ‘special’ ‘diasporic zoot’ is epic, and demonstrates once again Lee-Jones multi-faceted lateral language.
”… And the rolling paper is from none other than the motherland herself. Ordered the shit on eBay... Lukatar. She’s begging for you to partake”.
7. Glass Ceiling shattered!
At the end, the Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner breaks through a glassed wall that wasn’t put up by us (the marginalised). It plays on the heavenly highness obtained from the 'special spliff', as well as enlightmement developed from two friends reasoning. They see us. All of us... in full light. And yes - it will upset those of whom have worked hard to fit a barrier stopping non-white females to progress or see reality truly – but for me it was the perfect unapologetic punch from new age freedom fighters. To have full permission to write and direct a play from OUR perspective!
Please go and see - The Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner – By Jasmine Lee-Jones and Directed by Milli Bhatia is at the Royal Court Theatre until Saturday 27th July – click the link to book!
Note – My next review will be a Vlog as requested I promise!