Jan Woolf writes: Blood Gold and Oil is written for the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The play was ‘dug out of the desert,’ when I was writer in residence with the Great Arab Revolt archaeological dig in Jordan in 2013 – excavating WW1 battle and campsites of Bedouin clans, Turkish armies and blown-up trains - and the role played by the controversial figure of TE Lawrence. The processes of archaeology, the de- layering of landscape, suggested Freud’s de-layering of a mind through psychoanalysis. Like a series of Russian dolls I present Lawrence’s various personae from archaeologist, WW1 army officer, Bedouin guerrilla fighter, RAF private, down to the abused and traumatised man he was - drawing parallels with the violation of countries. I’d had a teenage fascination for Lawrence, after seeing the Film Lawrence of Arabia in 1966, and draw on that experience too, looking at the construction of celebrity and the myth of the hero.
Jan Woolf is a playwright, short story writer and novella-ist. Her previous plays, Sphinx and Porn Crackers, were produced at the Hackney Empire, where she was writer in residence in 2008 and You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know at the Royal Court for TEN - an evening of short plays commemorating the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Her short story collection Fugues on a Funny Bone was published in 2010 , another collection, Stormlight in 2019 and she’s working on her first novella The Masqued Invader, about a painter planning a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair at Tate Modern. A working life as teacher, events producer, political activist, film classifier, editor and publisher has informed her work. She is regularly published on-line with International Times and Culture Matters and is a regular arts reviewer for the Morning Star.