In Her Own Words: The Diana Tapes tells the true story of Princess Diana’s secret orchestration of her own shocking tell-all biography, written by Andrew Morton. Based on true events, the play imagines the conversations between Michael O’Mara, the publisher, Andrew Morton, the biographer, Princess Diana, and James Colthurst, her confidant.
Written by Scottish playwright, James Clements, and directed with a deftly minimalist eye by Wednesday Derrico, this smart and compelling new play focuses on the relationships between these characters and touches on themes of class, celebrity, media and the crooked monarchy.
Clements beautifully imagines the conversations between James Colthurst (Jorge Morales Pico) and Princess Diana, showing their tender relationship and the thought process that led Diana to record her deepest secrets to be published. The scenes between Andrew Morton (James Clements) and Michael O’Mara (Sam Hood Adrain) present the brutal nature of the media, who describe themselves as her saviors for writing a book that will make them rich. Morales Pico excels as a conflicted protector moving between deference to the Princess and concern for her well being.
Princess Diana (Ana-Cristina Schuler) stands stark against her male counter parts, while struggling to overcome the burden of the monarchy and her own marriage. Schuler plays Diana with a subtle dexterity, portraying the princess as sensitive yet strong-willed. Perhaps the only shortcoming of the play is the ending; the compelling narrative is hindered by a prolonged conclusion that comes just shy of catharsis.
Utilizing transcripts from the actual tapes that the Princess recorded, the writing respects Diana’s intelligence, but shows how years of torment drove her to rashly divulge her secrets. In all, In Her Own Words: The Diana Tapes is an unapologetic and honest portrayal of an iconic woman and the men who helped reveal her story.