Malthouse to surprise with Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner
Following outstanding reviews after its run in Sydney, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner is opening Malthouse Theatre’s 2023 season from January 18.
Equipped with an all-female women of colour cast and team, co-directed by Zindzi Okenyo and Shari Sebbens, the production has proven to be more than what its intentionally inflammatory and explosive title otherwise insinuates.
The play is centred around a young girl in South London, Cleo, who takes out her frustrations about Forbes naming Kylie Jenner as the youngest self-made billionaire with tweets online.
“Cleo really picks up at the words self-made, because it’s just not true and the Kardashians really capitalise on black women, black beauty and black bodies,” Ms Okenyo said.
“She starts getting irate online and as the play goes on, she becomes more and more viral and entrenched in this online conversation, but it unfortunately starts to influence her conversations with her best friend Kara in real life.”
“We get to watch as these two young girls struggle with the construct of the world, society and culture, and how social and racial inequalities that happen in the world really impact their relationship and stifle their ability to live in a very free way.”
Written by award-winning British playwright Jasmine Lee-Jones and originally presented by London’s Royal Court Theatre, the production takes a deep dive into some difficult topics, while still encouraging moments of light-hearted fun.
Structured and formatted to showcase two worlds – the IRL (in real life) and the online Twitter feed – the explorative production creatively delves into how to present an online world, a space where audience members may spend a lot of time, into the theatre space.
“It was really fun for us to work out how we were going to create twitter and bring memes, gifs and tweets alive, and the two performers get the opportunity to be really free in that sense,” Ms Okenyo said.
“So, it is a great mix of pathos and hilarity. The play becomes so much more than what the title offers up, and there is so much vulnerability and pain, and so much joy and laughter.”
While Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner is a production that welcomes all to come and enjoy, its highlighting quality has been its ability to confidently display the need for more black works and black stories.
As the first official production Ms Okenyo has directed after many years of experience as an actor, she said she felt both “grateful and proud” of what the show had already achieved before its launch in Melbourne.
“At the end of the day, the play is really about two young women trying to find their way in the world, and it is a love story between these two best friends and how they cope with being in the world as two young black women,” she said.
“There is a lot in the play for a specific community, but it also has a lot more for others to learn about and consider.”
Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner comes to Malthouse Theatre as a co-production from A Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Green Door Theatre Company.
It will be performed until January 29, starring lead actors Iolanthe and Chika Ikogwe.