Following its post-Brexit Day tour, Theatre Pipeline’s Drip Drip Drip has transferred to London’s Pleasance, where it runs until 21 March 2020. We caught up with cast member Lydia Bakelmum about joining the debate on the NHS, immigration and xenophobia. Time to get booking!
Amidst the backdrop of Brexit Britain, Pipeline Theatre’s latest play takes a look at Britain’s much-loved NHS and the complexities, and often uncomfortable truths, faced when taboos are confronted by reality. Drip Drip Drip takes us into a microcosm where an NHS care team finds itself treating an alt-right Islamophobe and disgraced academic, who happens to be terminally ill and desperately clinging on to his own sense of entitlement and toxic beliefs.
Drip Drip Drip is designed by Pipeline core team members Alan and Jude Munden, with music and sound by writer, director and fellow founder Jon Welch. The cast are David Keller, Lydia Bakelmun, Micheal Workeye, Girum Bekele and Alan Munden.
Drip Drip Drip is at London’s Pleasance Theatre 3-21 March 2020
Talking to… Lydia Bakelmun
Graduated from Drama Studio London in 2016, Lydia Bakelmun‘s professional acting credits to date include Babylon Beyond Borders (Bush Theatre), Polstead (Eastern Angles), Wild Boy (Lamphouse Theatre), The Palestinian in the Basement is on Fire (Southwark Playhouse), Hecuba Birangona (Kali Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre), The Bashful Lover (Read Not Dead, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Wallenstein: SchillerFest (The Faction, Bunker Theatre).
What did you think when you first read Drip Drip Drip?
I thought that it was an incredibly timely piece about so many prevalent issues being discussed in both public and political spheres. Many of us are disturbed and distressed about the state of the world at the moment, and this play felt like a legitimate contribution to the debate. As artists and creators, it is vital to be involved in navigating current affairs.
Tell us about your character.
Rahmiya is a consultant oncologist working in a London NHS hospital. She is mixed race, second-generation Pakistani and a Muslim. London born and bred. Above all things, she is a mother who would protect her children at all costs. She is clever and passionate about her job, but also exhausted and crushed under crippling funding cuts and everyday racism.
What’s it like working with Pipeline Theatre?
It’s a very collaborative process! Lots of ideas always bouncing around the room. A fun, warm and open company. It has also been a very cathartic process, discussing our own personal experiences of race in Britain and how we navigate hostilities.
Why do you think now is an important time to stage this play?
I think, regardless of your politics, Brexit has brought a great deal of uncertainty and further division to the UK. We have witnessed a real fracturing of communities and a threat to national institutions like the NHS. It is the job of the arts to engage with this; to provoke, nurture and encourage debate. I also think this play seeks to unite. We are talking about and celebrating diversity, but also uniting people through common human experience seeking to inspire compassion towards each other.
What were reactions like on tour?
Really positive! It is certainly sparking debate on many important issues. It has been particularly interesting to listen to NHS staff reactions, from dealing with racism to the tiredness of working long shifts. The goal is to send audiences off with new or reconsidered points of view and to inspire conversation outside of the theatre.
How worried are you about the NHS? Post-Brexit Britain? The spread of far-right views?
Pretty terrified! My mum works for the NHS so I have heard how damaging certain new policies could be. I don’t want such an asset to be torn apart, we are so lucky to have an NHS. As to far right views and post-Brexit Britain, I am very worried about the division in the country, of the lack of empathy and aggression towards certain communities. These are very uncertain times.
The show is described as a ‘love letter to the NHS’. What experience have you had with the NHS?
I am eternally grateful for the NHS as it has saved the lives of members of my family. It is a huge comfort to know that they are there for when you need them. I am also aware of the many funding cuts debilitating the good work and mission of the NHS, issues like lack of beds and staff shortages can’t be ignored, which is why we need our government to work to protect, maintain and develop an institution that serves all.
Drip Drip Drip tours from 11 February 2020, concluding in London from 3 to 21 March 2020 at the Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF, where performances run Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 6pm. Tickets are priced £14-16. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!