Assistant Director of seven methods of killing kylie jenner Shereen Hamilton reflects on her time working on the show as part of an all female cast and creative team.
As assistant director for seven methods of killing kylie jenner, not only do I feel empowered and a sense of privilege by working with an all female cast and creative team, I’m also super honoured to be part of a revolutionary theatre production beautifully written by Jasmine Lee-Jones. After reading a draft of the play, I was immediately swamped by a sense of relief and investment. FINALLY, a play that articulates real and authentic voices, capturing unique adolescence experiences. A play providing intersectional characters expressing their intersectional experiences, drawing upon their similarities and differences. This was particularly refreshing for me to see as I previously wrote a dissertation concluding the importance of intersectional characters on London stages.
When creating theatre it is crucial for me to have an awareness of intersectionality as this enhances the authenticity of the characters being presented. With seven methods of killing kylie jenner, not only is it refreshing to see a multicultural rehearsal room and creative team, it is also brilliant to hear the diversity of these voices, narratives and experiences on stage. As a creative in London, this is crucial to the way I approach my art and the work I get involved in.
Jasmine describes the play as being about duality, particularly the duality of living between two sociogeographical identities: girlhood and womanhood, heteronormativity and queerness, blackness and whiteness, oppression and liberation, the internet and ‘real life’ and the past and present. It’s also about bodies and what it is to own a body. At its heart, it’s about two girls/women who have grown up together and are grappling with the growth of their personal and political identities.
For me the significance of seven methods of killing kylie jenner being produced at the Royal Court Theatre, is less to do with the relationship with the audience, but to do with intersectional characters and narratives being presented on the Royal Court stage. When speaking with Jasmine it is clear that her primary concern is with is the form and narrative being portrayed by her creation.
Jasmine: “The first thing I think about when I come to my writing is character: Do I feel like know these characters? Do they feel authentic? I’m less interested in the socio-political context of the Royal Court and its relationship to this play. Part of my impetus for writing the seven methods of killing kylie jenner was the feeling of what it is to say something and not give a fuck about how it’s received by an audience. Right now, I’m interested in writing characters who would behave as they would even if the audience wasn’t there.”
We’ve talked about this quote in rehearsal a lot:
‘Now, it is not addressed particularly to white people, though it does not put you down in any way: it simply ignores you. For my people need all the inspiration and love that they can get’ – Nina Simone.
Throughout rehearsals this is a quote we have referred to when talking about whose life is the play exploring and the significance of this narrative to us all; our fellow creates of colour, our sisters, our queens, our families and the generations to come. I’m particularly interested in the conversation around the significance of the narrative to the people whose stories, lives and culture are being explored, rather than the significance of how this story will be perceived by the spectators present.
Jasmine: “I feel like as a human that happens to be black and a woman, I do enough thinking about what people think of me already and I’m interested in exploring the opposite in my art. Right now, I’m more interested in making theatre with the gaze of black womxn and non-binary people in mind.”
As a mixed race black woman, I want to make work that creates an intersectional, multicultural spectacle, that diverts white male hegemonic infrastructure and reinvents a gaze that does not uphold and support this. seven methods of killing kylie jenner is the perfect example of using intersectionality to overcome grouping all black womxn’s gender and race, as historically they have been. In my opinion, this is the unforeseen power of the play.
“We are different and I for one praise Jah for that” – seven methods of killing kylie jenner