Directed by Barry Satchwell Smith*
Music by Jack Ramsey
Spy: The Betrayal of Mata Hari tells the tale of a Dutch courtesan who finds herself caught in the crossfire when she accepts the role of double agent for opposing factions in World War I. Is she the ultimate manipulator, or is she the one who will ultimately get played?
From the Playwright:
Robert Kalfin, director and founding director of Chelsea Theater, said:
SPY: The Betrayal of Mata Hari by Bart Midwood is a terrific theater work about the notorious spy, courtesan, and famous nude dancer performer — [at La Scala no less, a la Isadora Duncan]. The recent Russian spy-ring episode is a current incarnation of this world. Though a passionate French patriot during the First World War, Mata Hari was executed for treason by a [reluctant] French firing squad for supposedly collaborating with the Germans. This is the official line on her, but the real story is tragic: she was set-up, both by the Germans [who suspected her true loyalty] and a 61 year old French general –whose offer to ensconce her as his mistress, she turned down. He gave the execution order. [This is all based on diligent recent research]. I said “extraordinary” performer –in almost each of her scenes in the play the character must improvise as though dancing on hot coals. The tension is always palpable. It is the role of a lifetime.
About the Playwright:
BART MIDWOOD (Playwright) In an article in Esquire, Isaac Singer wrote that Bart Midwood was “a master of dialogue” and “the first writer in English to give the word humoristic freedom.” Books: The World in Pieces (Permanent Press, 1998), Bennett’s Angel (British-American Paris Review Editions, 1989), The Nativity (Bel Esprit, 1981), Phantoms (Dutton, 1970), Bodkin (Random House, 1967). Periodicals: Esquire, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, TransAtlantic Review, Dutton Review, Agni, Queen, NagyVilag. Film: Narrative script and musical score for End of the Dialogue, award-winning documentary about the system of apartheid in South Africa. Stage Plays: The Dance of Mata Hari at St. Clements, Soldier in Iceland at Storefront, Ferryboat at Judith Anderson. Prizes: Robert Frost Prize for Poetry, Aga Khan Prize for Humor, Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction, NEA Fellowship for Fiction, National Sinfonian Award for Composition of String Quartet. Facts of Life: Born: Brooklyn, New York. B.A. University of Miami, full music scholarship. Florida State University, National Defense Fellowship in Humanities. U.S. Army: 1961-67. Master Piano Tuner certified by London College of Furniture and Design. Resided and worked: New York, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, California, Yucatan, England, China. Five children: Ramsay, Rebecca, Jacob, Sam, Flora. Married since 1988 to Laura Melim Midwood, Ph.D, J.D.