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Jack Rosenthal and daughter Amy’s unconventional freshers’ week

10:00 26 March 2011

Jack and Amy Rosenthal

Jack and Amy Rosenthal

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Amy Rosenthal spent freshers week with her dad and the experience has inspired her latest play for the JCC

WILD parties, hard drinking and fancy dress are unlikely to feature in award-winning playwright Amy Rosenthal’s memories of her unconventional freshers’ week which she has bared for a special play to celebrate Passover.

Instead of partying the night away and discovering all the different combinations of alcohol a pub can serve, Amy spent the week with her playwright father Jack Rosenthal in a nearby hotel.

Paradoxically, the play which explores her unconventional dependency on family life was inspired by the title of Liberation handed to her by the Jewish Community Centre for London for its special evening of short plays entitled The Other Seder.

“I quite like working with a trigger, like a title,” said Amy. “I think being given limitations can be very freeing creatively. I tend to panic a bit if I am told to write just anything, so I like to be pinned down to something.”

Inspired “totally” by her experience of her father taking her to Manchester University to begin a drama course, the play explores the pitfalls of liberations and the terror sudden freedom can inspire.

“I was a very, very neurotic and fragile seeming creature,” she added, “and I just didn’t want to go. I had spent the whole year leading up to going to uni dreading it so much. I was so petrified, I wouldn’t let anyone say the word Manchester for a year.”

Driven up to the city from the Muswell Hill family home by Mr Rosenthal, who died in 2004, and leaving her actress mother Maureen Lipman behind, Amy could not understand the lure of an independent university life.

She said: “For the piece, I played around with our assumptions that, in this sort of situation, it’s the parent who wants to stay. In our case, there was a degree of co-dependency. But it was me who wanted him there really.”

The play will be performed alongside four others – all on the topic of Freedom. The plays, performed with an ensemble cast, will be directed by Mark Rosenblatt and are inspired by the four cups of wine drunk at the Seder, Passover’s ritualised dinner.

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