Archives for category: Personal

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.


A visit to the 2009 Golden Mask Festival in Moscow led to this article, which was itself a celebration of Russian playwrights – playwrights generally grouped under the now-somewhat-aging moniker, “New Russian Drama.” I had a great time. But I look back at the article and think that I was really catching the tail end of something. This was really New Russian Drama at the point where it starts wondering why it called itself New Russian Drama. Probably a little bit like punk rock in 1978. The big question: Is New Drama Dead? On the other hand, this was part of an effort to bring some of the promising, maturing playwrights who have sprung out of New Drama to the United States.

Read “Russia’s Brave New Wordsmiths,” American Theatre Magazine, October 2009 (PDF)

Here’s my latest insert on the gradual takeover of the infrastructure by foreign companies, Veolia in Particular, as it was published for the Baltimore Brew, a wonderful local online paper featuring a lot of Baltimore’s own journalists.

Photo By Michelle Giegnow

And just to show that I write about more than French Environmental conglomerates, a piece for City Paper entitled Creative Proof (I don’t know exactly what the title is about) on the documentary producer Steven Fischer, who gave me a chance to sit in on an interview with McCoy Tyner.

And earlier, I think, a piece on the three day Russian playwrights festival at Towson University. I still stand behind the central thesis. Americans like Russians because they’re crazier than we are. And whenever Russians use American cultural artifacts to prove that we’re the crazy ones, we take that as a compliment. Those were the parameters of our old relationship, and, as this Tarentino Tribute, Martial Arts, indicates, we can revive it. Is that what we call reset? Possibly.

In this Salon piece, “My Baby is Too Boring to Blog About”  I learned several things. First, insert the words Baby and Blog in your title, and you’ll get more hits than you ever got before in your entire life. Second, watch what you say! Now, I had actually phrased that title as a question, (“Is My Baby Too Boring To Blog About?”) and was trying to evoke the loving parent who is incapable of recording the miracle of daily life with his new son. It was switched to the declarative.

Education and Class

Exploring the intersections of social class, education and identity

Hungarian Watch

The world is watching.

The New Mercury Readings

Nothing But the Truth

Re:education in Baltimore

A city mom thinks outside the sandbox. is the best place for your personal blog or business site.