Diane Samuels’ long-awaited follow-up to her international hit play, Kindertransport, is the story behind the notorious World War One femme fatale, known as Mata Hari.
It is 1917. The First World War is taking a heavy toll on Paris. Paranoia and chauvinism are rampant. Mata Hari, celebrated exotic dancer, is arrested for passing information to Germany and interrogated by two Frenchman who believe that she is the greatest female spy of the century. Whilst she proclaims her sincerity and innocence, her captors are increasingly convinced that everything she says is a lethal fiction. Mata Hari has often been viewed as an icon of dangerous female sexuality, but Samuels’ play probes more complex questions with regards to the fluidity of her identity and the nature of celebrity.
The True Life Fiction of Mata Hari was first performed at the Palace Theatre in Watford in 2002 with Italian-Australian film star Greta Scacchi in the lead role.