SPY: THE BETRAYAL OF MATA HARI BY BART MIDWOOD
Wednesday June 29th at 7 PM
Thursday June 30th at 7 PM
Directed by Barry Satchwell Smith*
Featuring: Christine Andreas, Christopher Burns, Matt Faucher, Paul Molnar, John Plumpis*, James Prendergast*, and Allen Lewis Rickman
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?
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ABOUT SPY: The Betrayal of Mata Hari
Robert Kalfin, 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 work can be performed by seven
actors. SPY could also possibly be a Broadway project driven by an
extraordinary star performer -- a major actress in her late thirties or early forties
who is both sexually and intellectually irresistible - [Salma Hayek, for example].
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.
* * *
“As a director I envision a play in its 3-dimensional realization. I only put out a new
play for consideration when I feel it is at the point where it is ready -- with the ongoing
collaboration of the playwright -- to reach its inherent fulfillment through the
What can I say about the Mata Hari play, other than that it is well structured, that the
true story is a compelling page-turner, that colleagues who have read it feel it
is really good, that it provides a thrilling opportunity for a major actress, and that I am
confident this work in production would provide a live audience experience that is
About Bart Midwood
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."
Publications, Productions & Prizes
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).
Esquire, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, TransAtlantic Review, Dutton Review, Agni, Queen, NagyVilag.
Narrative script and musical score for End of the Dialogue, award-winning documentary about the system of apartheid in South Africa.
The Dance of Mata Hari at St. Clements, Soldier in Iceland at Storefront, Ferryboat at Judith Anderson.
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.