In Peshkar’s “Nor Any Drop” a young man goes to visit his dad in Bangladesh when home in the UK gets flooded and mum is getting things back together. Off he goes, warned by mum that it would be horrible and dirty – that’s what he sees – but also he sees people who have learned to cope and are proud of it. They have not lost iPods in the floods which come annually; but towns, homes and family members. Yet they are better able to cope than the less than humble visitor who thinks the world has ended ’cause he lost his football team application forms. His father tries to provide a moral perspective in this.
Meanwhile we encounter a young woman who has lost her husband at sea and a fisherman who got lost, from the same town which was wiped out by the flood who claims his wife was also named Joneka.
Are they one and the same? Are the unseen children actually dead too?
There seemed to be a problem with whether there were 2 or 3 children, with the elder child said to be 12 tears old yet having adult sized trainers – where these actually the missing dad’s shoes. Was this actually a flashback to the young man’s mother and father’s life and how they were separated – the fisherman heading back to his former village and the woman and children moving on to a safe haven?
The two stories are intertwined in that the young man’s father is the official responsible for the assessing the welfare of the young woman and family, and ultimately the young visitor help comfort her and move her to a new home in the CLP.
All presented in a single set, nice staged with video back-projection impressionistically representing England, UK Airport, Bangladesh Airport, Taxi/Bus ride, Village, Shanty-town and fishing boat at sea with dreamy surreal coloured skies.
I can see a lot of parallels in this work with the kitchen-sink dramas of the 1960’s and 70’s where young men (mostly men) rediscovered their roots and working class heritage, visiting home from the city and are somewhat ashamed or embarrassed about seeing their parents in a depressed and depressing northern town like… well – Oldham; this coupled with a dawning realisation what the previous generation had suffered and achieved. Think early Coronation Street as shown in the recent retrospective and the docu-drama “Road to Coronation Street”. Let’s call it the “Ken Barlow Effect”.
The debut writer Nick Ahad said in his introduction that the story was in some extent informed by his own experience of visiting Bangladesh for the first time at age 30 but clearly he has tapped into a universal vein of human experience connected with generation gap, identity and personal heritage.
Interesting stuff and expanding their digital presence in new and potentially interesting ways incorporating elements of production and performance in online ways.