The story behind the notorious World War One femme fatale known as Mata Hari – from the author of Kindertransport.
It is 1917. The First World War has taken its toll on ‘gay Paree’. Everyone is struggling, not least the notorious exotic dancer, Mata Hari, formerly Margaretha Zelle from Holland. Arrested for passing information to the Germans but steadfastly proclaiming her love for France, her sincerity and innocence, Mata Hari is interrogated by two Frenchmen who are convinced that everything she says and does is a lethal fiction.
For years Mata Hari has been seen as a femme fatale and a dangerous spy. But the ‘truth’ behind this remarkable woman is a good deal more complex, with many having their own motives for their version of her story. Why is everything about her not quite what it seems? And what really lies beneath her many masks?
Diane Samuels’ play The True Life Fiction of Mata Hari was first performed at the Palace Theatre, Watford, in 2002, with Greta Scacchi in the lead role.