We sat down with seven methods of killing kylie jenner writer Jasmine Lee-Jones and director Milli Bhatia to chat about their upcoming play.
What is seven methods of killing kylie jenner about?
Jasmine: Thematically it’s about friendship particularly between womxn. It’s about growing up, coming of age, and that place between being a girl and a womxn and if that’s a thing. It’s about the big -isms and -cisms and structures, and what they mean on a personal level. It’s also about communication literally within friendships and also our communication, how those characters as twenty-first century young womxn are being reflected through the internet and Twitter; and the way it’s impacted how we live and how we communicate information and process politics.
The other big thing I’ll say is it’s about the past and our understanding of the past. There’re two types of pasts – there’s historical past and there’s present day past and it’s about how the two interlink and how to have a relationship with the past going forward.
The thing that resonates with me is two young black womxn deciding to go on a journey of self-discovery, self-realisation, and self-actualisation; and how it’s different when you are living dual identities, when you’re a womxn and you’re black or all of the other different identities. So I think it’s about that, but I’m sure I’ll discover other things when it’s on as well.
What is it like to have an all women of colour creative team?
Milli: It feels like a really safe space which is really important for this play, and actually more importantly it feels like there’s no gaze. I remember Jasmine saying that in the first week it feels like there’s no gaze on anyone in the room, which for what we’re talking about and what we’re making feels really important.
Jasmine: I like it because it’s redefined my definition of what working space could be. With but because of this play and these characters, I feel like it’s really impacted how we work and the way in which we work. It’s really fun.
Do you have any advice for any upcoming writers and directors?
Milli: One of the most useful things that I took on, when I first started directing my own stuff as opposed to assisting was try not to dismiss things too early before you know whether you like them or not. I very much grew up feeling alienated by Shakespeare and the classics and going “I don’t like those. They’re not my canon and they’re not for me.” And I think it’s really important that we feel empowered to try things and understand them before we dismiss them. Assisting is a really great way to do that actually. I’ve probably assisted on things that I wouldn’t choose to direct but learnt loads.
Jasmine: My advice would be to write what you want, not write what you know. Write because it encourages you – I think the phrase “stay in your lane” is quite harmful for writers of colour or anyone that comes from a “minority experience”. I understand the sentiment behind it but I think write what you want or otherwise you’re going to crunch – I stole that from Audre Lorde but you’re going to be crunched into other definitions of what people want you to be or what other people think is good and you’re going to find it so boring.
Read a lot of work and not just plays. If you work in theatre in general don’t just talk about theatre and don’t just talk about what other people are doing. I think there’s this culture that I’m starting to see, just coming out of drama school, being out in the world, and I fall into the trap of comparison when there’re so many other things we could be talking about, so many books to read, so many places to go. So that would be my advice, to just stay open to the world.
seven methods of killing kylie jenner is now streaming worldwide until 17 April. Find out more