Friday 14 July 2023


Blood, Gold and Oil

'A profound and serious play where politics and psychology, authenticity and fable, artefacts and abstractions combine to expose a bitter truth.' The Morning Star
'Douglas Clarke-Wood as TE Lawrence effortlessly commands the stage as TE Lawrence' London Pub Theatres

    I went to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith (London) to see the final night of Jan Woolf’s, play, Blood, Gold and Oil written and produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the Iraq occupation. Unsurprisingly it played to a full house for its entire run.
    The play scrapes away at the topsoil of TE Lawrence's celebrity and excavates all that lies beneath. Was he a brilliant military commander? Certainly. A freedom fighter? He thought so. An agent of British colonialism and the burgeoning oil corporations? Could be. An admirer of Lenin. Yes. Killed or assassinated in a road accident? Maybe. Did Peter O’Toole in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ mythologise the man. Very likely.
    During the course of the play, an exhibition is pieced together with an array of World War One artefacts on loan from the National Civil War Centre in Newark and The Imperial War Museum. The finds were from a 2013 archaeological dig in Jordan which Jan visited to dig her play out of the desert.
    The play is a timely reminder of those responsible for the long, bloody history imposed on the peoples of the Middle East in pursuit of liquid gold.

photos: Play poster and Jan Woolf with Douglas Clarke-Wood (TE Lawrence)

The play is dedicated to the memory of Neil Faulkner, archaeologist, historian and political activist.