Hello Tania! Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
Hi, my name is Tania Amsel. I am the writer of Blood Orange, and play Amy, a Junior Doctor, in the performance.
Describe your work “Blood Orange” in 3 words.
Funny - Touching - Christmassy!
What is the premise of “Blood Orange” and what inspired this work?
Blood Orange was inspired by the dedication of NHS staff, particularly over the Christmas season. It’s a personal journey full of humour, about how mental ill-health and losing a loved one affects junior doctor Amy and explores her journey to move forward with hope.
Why did you chose to make a show about junior doctors and mental health as a Christmas performance?
Junior Doctors are people like you and me. They do amazing jobs under pressure and that takes its toll. Christmas is a joyous time but also full of stress for a lot of people. Blood Orange tells that story.
How did you go about combining hard-hitting issues such as childhood trauma and grief with comedy?
Comedy and tragedy aren’t far apart. Finding the real emotion and understanding how that can resonate with an audience is a challenge, but I think I cracked it. It’s laughter that can release the darkness and lifts everyone up. Come and see for yourself!
You researched this show with doctors and medical staff. How did this impact the creative process?
I read and talked with medical professionals and learnt so much. My admiration grew - getting the medical facts correct and redrafting the script was the least I could do.
Tell us more about Amy, who is the protagonist of “Blood Orange.”
Amy is smart, strong and passionate about her job. She comes to realise she’s been ignoring her feelings and so during the play she reconnects with her past and begins to lets go of her guilt. She’s also crazy about silly dancing.
What do you hope this show will achieve?
I hope the audience will love Blood Orange! I also hope they will realise everyone can suffer mental ill-health and grieve a lost loved one. It’s talking about it that is so important.
Have any other artists inspired or influenced your artistic work?
I’m inspired by writers, actors and artists of all kinds. Sally Wainwright is a constant source of inspiration. In acting I love Hayley Atwell for her intelligence and honesty. I also adore Jenna Russell for her vulnerability.
What lingers with me after a good play is the feeling; I can be elated or desolate, and for me that’s so powerful. I’d be very happy if that’s how people will feel after my play!
Did you face any particular challenges during the project?
Rewrites are always hard, I can spend hours scratching my head over one scene but time is almost always the best cure for this, even an hour away from work can give you clarity.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?
You need a thick skin - be open to learning and have dogged determination. And most importantly: Make sure you have fun!
How can people find out more?
You can visit the Old Red Lion Theatre website, or follow us on social media below!