In 2013 Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley) was sentenced after nearly two years in prison without charge, accused of releasing 250,000 secret embassy cables and military logs from Iraq and Afghan wars.
When YEP associate director Chris Tomlinson asked me to get involved I was more than happy to oblige. I've followed the story of Bradley Manning from the first Wikileaks storm to the latest suicide attempts by Chelsea in prison, and have found the story both compelling and tragic. I could tell from the first meetings with Chris that his ideas for the direction of the play meant this was going to be an important story to tackle.
The sound design aimed to focus the audiences attention to the more brutal aspects of behavior that Bradley has endured from the military for the supposed crime of being a traitor and a spy for leaking the information to Wikileaks. A soundscape of slamming cell doors, mixed with the horrifying real sounds of the Apache helicopter gunning down innocent civilians taken from the leaked "CollateralMurder" footage helped to create an atmosphere of oppression and isolation. The actors, who all performed the role of Bradley at some point throughout the performance, portrayed his frustration, alienation and fear brilliantly and it was a pleasure to accompany their performances with sound.
"When I chose to disclose classified information... I did so out of love for our country and a sense of duty for others. If you deny my request for a pardon I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society." Chelsea Manning
Directed by Chris Tomlinson
Photography courtesy of Brian Roberts