The True-Life Fiction of Mata Hari

“Celebrity is no defence against high treason.”

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. She is interrogated by two French officers who believe that she is “the greatest woman spy of the century”. Whilst she proclaims her sincerity and innocence, her captors are increasingly convinced that everything she says is a lethal fiction.

For nearly a hundred years Mata Hari has been seen as an icon of treacherous female sexuality. The truth about this remarkable woman, born Margarethe Zelle, in the northern Netherlands, is a good deal more complex and surprising. Why is everything about her not quite what it seems? How can anyone probe beneath her many masks? What is true, what is pure fantasy and what is the real price of celebrity?

Produced by Palace Theatre, Watford in 2002

Published as “The True-Life Fiction of Mata Hari” by Nick Hern Books.

Cast: 4 males; 2 females Running time: 100 minutes