Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Common Thread

Recently, while looking up information on playwright George Bernard Shaw and Museum Curator Sir Sidney Cockerell I came across a neat bit of connective thread between these men, T. E. Lawrence and our own Sir Alec Guinness.

Most of you may know that Guinness played Prince Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia (the film that was somewhat fact-based on T. E. Lawrence, who was Lawrence of Arabia) and that Peter O'Toole played Lawrence himself.

But did you know that an Arabian dressing robe purchased, somewhere in the Middle-East, by Cockerell was given to T.E. Lawrence, then left to Shaw after Lawrence's death in 1935, Shaw used it for a while then sent it back to Cockerell who later gave it to Guinness? Yep.

Here's the bit I found.

Shaw was a good friend to Cockerell and both had been friends of T. E. Lawrence before his death. Shaw, a playwright and a casting director of sorts (he wrote parts with certain actors in mind), once noted to someone ('round about 1940) he'd written a letter to, "take a look at a young actor named Alec Guinness." Shaw no doubt had seen a few of the plays Guinness was involved with at the time (the Old Vic in London for sure) and was obviously excited by the young, talented actor. This may have been the stepping stone to the friendship between Shaw, Cockerell and Guinness.

Cockerell (Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell), a curator/director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge and printer, had corresponded with Guinness for years. One letter written in reply to Guinness's conversion to Catholicism shows Cockerell a little baffled at the religious turn in his friend. He wrote: "But how can you believe in a creative all-good, all-wise God, knowing that you have an appendix, which is a totally useless organ and can prove dangerous?" (from Blessings in Disguise) The friendship, of course, was unshaken by the change in faith and may have become closer after the conversion which came several years after Shaw's death.

I'm sure the intersecting lives of the four men mentioned above is how Guinness came upon the robe in the end. It's interesting to think that Lawrence would never know that the robe would at some point be in the hands of a man who played a role in the telling of his own story.

On a related note: A play called The Best of Friends centered on the friendships of Cockerell, Shaw and Dame Laurentia McLachlan, a benedictine nun, Abbess of Stanbrook Abbey and writer. The play, adapted by Hugh Whitemore, interweaves the letters and essays of the three good friends into an interesting and entertaining piece of theatre.

This year Michael Pennington (Moff Jerjerrod - ROTJ) plays Sir Sydney Cockerell in that very same play. The play runs through March. and I believe into May, at the Hampstead Theatre, Swiss Cottage, London.

How funny that I'd stumble across such information by looking for something else. What a treasured thing reading is. hehe

Leah

13 comments digested to 1

1 comment:

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 1:19 AM
Y'kmow, the word Guiness really shouldn't have drawn my attention so early in the morning, but I'm glad it did. Very interesting, I knew there was a deeper connection between Sir Alec and the story of TE Lawrence, but not to such a degree. Top stuff pal-o-mine!



NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 1:34 AM
Yes, I thought maybe placing Guinness there might conjure up dark and tasty but alas it was white and act-y , er, well you know what I mean.

LM



NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 1:35 AM
Mark!! I just knew you'd be the first to read this! ;) Nice also to see a familiar face, been long in the hole of drawing and helping my parents. Two nights ago I had come off a straight day and night of drawing and came up with a rather sore callous on my right pinkie. I had a about an hour of drawing left in me before I would fall over and had to draw with my pinkie raised...silly. hehe

The next evening, last night, I took my parents to an evening street fair (every Thursday night) and there was a slight chill in the air (I am NOT used to cool weather), my hands stiffened and started to throb. I'll not do that again, gloves for me!

Leah



LovinAni

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 2:55 AM
i am soory i didnt get any of that ...
not to be rude .. but wat was the point
i am really sorry if that sounds rude it had too many big words lol



LovinAni

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 2:56 AM
i am sorry.. i didnt get any of that ...
not to be rude .. but wat was the point
i am really sorry if that sounds rude it had too many big words lol



NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 3:38 AM
Hey LovinAni!

Alec Guinness gets shirt worn/owned by TE Lawrence, who was called "Lawrence of Arabia" (see IMDB for film description). Alec Guinness was in that film as well as Kenobi in A New Hope (Star Wars 1977).

Basically several people in history passed down a piece of clothing from the 1880's which ended up with our elder Obi-Wan then on to a museum (The National Trust in England)

Then, a play was written about some of those people I mentioned and another Star Wars actor, Michael Pennington, starred in that play.

Any clearer?
Leah



janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 7:20 AM
Leah, in honour of your little pinkie I am going to wear gloves in bed tonight, in the hope that your pour finger will warm up in 'sympathy'.
It's got to be worth a try hasn't it!



janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 7:21 AM
Am I thick or what

Pour finger? Isn't that what you use to make a cup of tea? I meant poor finger!
D'oh!



Son of a Bith
The Cantina Corner

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 9:38 AM
Moff Jerjerrod was only in ROTJ. (If you don't count the part in the ESB Special Edition with the new scene of Vader arriving at his SSD, which is unused footage from ROTJ inserted in.)



NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 11:02 AM
lol that's the second time i've done that to 'poor' Pennington...forgive me!!!



NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 11:09 AM
Leah, in honour of your little pinkie I am going to wear gloves in bed tonight, in the hope that your pour finger will warm up in 'sympathy'.
It's got to be worth a try hasn't it!

haha, that's a little like voodoo! (the good kind). Nothing like a bit o' good juju. Thanks!!

'poor' dear. ;)

haha, I'm still giggling about the Jerjerrod thing. Janlomona remembers the first time. He almost took back my key to Geek City for that. Strike two.



LovinAni

date Posted: Mar 04, 2006 9:28 PM
Ok thanks ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)



janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Mar 05, 2006 8:26 AM
Hey, hey, I loaned you the key to Geek City. Loaned.
But the keys to Nerd Central and Sadsville are yours if you want them. I have copies.