Self-Criticism

The audience for Self-Criticism seems, rightfully, self-selecting. The Fringe programme description that reads ‘Two women, one life’ is an indication of the audience’s gender specificity. As Estela (Sarah Jayne-Harris) joins her alter-ego, Blanca (Cornelia Baumann), the playwright’s intention to make manifest the two contrasting aspects of female personality is revealed. Estela, returning from a wild-night partying ending with a one-night stand, mocks the timid Blanca whose irritation at the exploits of her alter-ego serves only to fuel the barrage of insults thrown at her.

Both actresses expertly deliver their prescribed roles, Estela’s hedonism accelerating whilst Blanca crumbles beneath her duvet. The RADA trained Chilean playwright and director, Constanza Hola, masterfully incorporates absurdist elements into the dialogue as the internal conflict of the two women who live in the same body reaches its climax. Whilst some may be put off by the graphic nature of the subject matter - it is definitely not for the fair-hearted - the effect of its blunt delivery is successfully thought-provoking, and the two actresses are perfect in their opposing roles.

An uncomfortable but stimulating piece, Self-Criticism is complex but effective. At times a little explicit, it won’t be to everyone’s taste - but for those interested in a novel exploration of female identity, it is a very exciting piece of new writing.

Reviews by Katherine Burr

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The Blurb

Two women waiting, two women stuck. A play by Blame the Chileans.

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