John Barry: There’s a template for criticism that a lot of us follow. You show up, watch the play, offer a summary, and explain how you can do it better. As a creative writer, did you struggle with that?

Andrea Tompa: I don’t really make decisions about how to do things better. If I could do it better, I’d do it myself. I feel that criticism to me is about dialogue. It’s a dialogue with the audience, and with the performers. It’s also a dialogue with myself. Because it’s writing, and in the process of writing you learn a lot about yourself, if you want to be able to mediate this dialogue.

JB: So it’s not about deciding whether something is worth seeing or not?

AT: Of course where I live, criticism is probably very mild compared to the criticism in the United States. [In the U.S.] it’s more black and white. You have to tell the audience to go or not to go. Criticism in Europe and Eastern Europe doesn’t assume that power – to tell the audience what to do. This is good and bad at the same time. A critic doesn’t have the power to close a show or to make it great. It’s also good, because you realize that you’re only part of the dialogue, not the only voice, delivering the final verdict. But really, I would hate to have that role. I can’t imagine how a critic can live with that power.

Read the interview at DC Theatre Scene.

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