A New Short Play by
Al Sjoerdsma's short play was staged as part of "ObamAmerica" -a festival of new plays exploring aspects of life in Obama's America - in this case the trial and incarceration of 'whistle-blower' Bradley Manning and the subsequent announcement that he would living as a woman named Chelsea.
The play sees Bradley talk to Chelsea (his alter-ego, soon to be his new identity) and Nameless, his incarcerated self (who was kept in Guantanomo-like conditions in the lead up to his trial) about his life and what lead him to break the official secrets act on such an unprecedented scale. Nameless, in life and on stage, was naked throughout.
Ben adopted a highly stylised and visually intricate approach to the play, with lines reverberating among the characters as if echoing in Bradley's mind and movement being mirrored between them to give a sense of Bradley's isolation from the rest of the world and his turmoil within himself. Interacting with the naked boy he was humiliated into being and the self-confident woman he aspires to made his character's narrative all the more dramatically compelling.
Part of an evening of wildly contrasting subjects and tones, all marvellously performed by ex-pat American actors, BRADLEY stood out as one of the festival's hardest hitting plays and one that deserves wider audience exposure.