8-13-13 Two Plays on Bradley Manning PDF Print E-mail

By World Can't Wait

Many of us are deeply grateful to Bradley Manning for telling us about things in Iraq and Afghanistan that  we suspected but were not certain about.  Two playwrights have shown how deeply his truly patriotic acts affected them by telling his story.  These can be seen now.

“The Radicalization of Bradley Manning”
Live streamed for audiences worldwide August 6-25.

In the play, Bradley Manning’s life is charted from his teenage years in Wales to the present day.  “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning” written by Tim Price and produced by the National Theatre of Wales is the first play to win the James Tait Black prize for drama. It is currently being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

The play charts the story of Bradley’s life from his teenage years in Wales until he was incarcerated in the US, and was originally performed at Tasker Milward School in Haverfordwest Wales, where Bradley attended high school when he lived with his mother for 3 years. Tim Price felt a connection to Bradley through their shared Welsh heritage, he says: “it wasn’t until I learned of Bradley’s teenage years in Wales that my curiosity turned into obsession. This young soldier- who has attempted to call the president of the US as a defense witness- knows bus timetables around Haverfordwest. He knows the trials of schoolboy rugby, and speaks rudimentary Welsh. Once I realized this, Bradley became more than a news story.” In this production five different actors play Bradley, utilizing the “I am Bradley Manning” campaign meme.

August 16th and 17th,  7:30pm
Universalist National Memorial Church
1810 16th St NW, Washington DC

Bradass87 is a play Claire Lebowitz wrote about Bradley Manning that has been performed as staged readings, excerpts and short street theater scenes all over New York City. The title was Bradley’s screen name in his "Instant Messenger" chats and the play is composed entirely from primary source material, chat logs, interviews and trial transcripts. As Lebowitz says: "Bradley has inspired me as he has countless others, but my personal connection to his story came from my trips to Afghanistan to teach high school students. Bradley’s feelings of responsibility towards civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan who are 'struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare' resonated with me and his earnestness and principled nature continues to touch my heart. To me he injects humanity into a system that actively attempts to strip it away. As he has said often in chats, he is a Humanist and 'values human life above all.'"

Bradass87 examines the motivations of PFC Bradley Manning for exposing the truth about the American government’s conduct overseas. It will be performed as a staged reading with Chris Dinolfo playing Bradley Manning. The performance comes at the end of the defense witnesses’ testimony in the sentencing portion of Bradley’s trial.  Lebowitz hopes the play and the panel afterwards will be an opportunity to create a public forum while the trial is ongoing to consider many of the larger issues this case brings up that threaten our democracy.

The US government has gone to great lengths to control what is written about Bradley in the media by conducting the trial in de facto secrecy, to keep Bradley away from public view so that he is not easy to relate to and not characterized as a prisoner of conscience. These two plays attempt to counter that narrative. Once Bradley Manning becomes a symbol (as he is to Edward Snowden), they’ve lost. When the dust settles from the trial and we are no longer obsessed with the “hero or traitor” narrative, we will thank Bradley Manning for lifting the fog of war and confirm what another famous humanist, playwright William Shakespeare said: “truth is truth, until the end of reckoning.”

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