Obsidian’s production of seven methods of killing kylie jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones finishes their 23-24 season at Crow’s Theatre on a strong note. Twitter, like many social media platforms, flattens out the three-dimensionality of users. This production, by contrast, breathes life into the world behind a series of seemingly violent tweets.


Lee-Jones’ play tells the story of Cleo (Déjah Dixon-Green), a fat black woman channeling her rage about white women’s appropriation of black culture and beauty into tweets about the seven ways she would like to see Kylie Jenner killed. We are then introduced to Kara (Jasmine Case), Cleo’s best friend. The play oscillates between Cleo’s personal tweets, the resulting online discourse, and increasing online aggression, and the parallel escalation between the two women as Kara expresses her personal discomfort with Cleo’s tweets.


Through the portrayal of Cleo’s friendship with Kara, the show illustrates the many and varied ways oppression operates. You need not know much about Kylie Jenner nor about oppression to see this play, as the script does an excellent job of laying out basic concepts while refraining from sounding intentionally didactic. Both Cleo and Kara wrestle with different aspects of oppression: one with queerness and the other with her size, both lashing out at the other in response to feeling unseen and unheard, and the louder one of them speaks, the more defensive the other gets.


Both sides of this two-hander are equally compelling: Dixon-Green balances Cleo’s hurt and rage with a sweeter tenderness and desire for love, and Case’s performance starts with an upbeat rhythm and lightheartedness that masks a vulnerability that emerges in the second half. The two bring alive the history of these women with such a seeming ease that grounds the heart of the play. And while much of the script contains online abbreviations, there is a dictionary for those of us with less familiarity with Twitter vernacular (though the acting is so on point that it’s ultimately unnecessary, as the meaning comes through so clearly).


Jay Northcott’s direction allows the richness of the story to come through clearly. Nick Blais has delineated the stage space clearly: microphones set up to indicate iterations of the Twitter TL (timeline), amplifying the women’s voices in ways that alternately indicate power and panic, contrasted by a soft round mattress layered with fuzzy pink pillows and blankets, marked juxtaposition with the sharp lines of the grey screens that pepper the backdrop.


The only improvement I would make is to the script, rather than the production, as the final speech about the gruesome treatment of a 19th century South African woman, a woman whose story stands in stark contrast to that of Kylie Jenner, feels a bit short despite its being the culmination of the themes of the play.


Obsidian’s seven methods presents a powerful, nuanced production of a play about how easily meaning gets lost in our attempts to speak, the ways in which humanity can be erased and revealed, offering a welcome addition to the discourse surrounding the potential and the limits of social media.