10 Things I Did to Fifty Shades of Grey


My solo performance Schlock! is on 8-26 November at the Rosemary Branch theatre in Hackney. – Alongside the show is an exciting programme of post-show talks featuring Jude Kelly, Maddy Costa, Jack Underwood, Daryl Jackson and more to be confirmed. Another treat is a double bill between 15-17th November with Helen Seymour who I’ve been working with on her  show ‘To Helen Back’. (it premiered last night in Canterbury and she was bloody brilliant)

Here are 10 things I did to Fifty Shades of Grey

1. Tried to Read Fifty Shades of Grey. Failed, but copied down the lines that bit me such as:

“How did you feel when I was hitting you and after?”
“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again”

2. Decided if I can’t just read it I’ll re-write it and copy it (like Kathy Acker, my other inspiration for the show). Maybe by changing some of the words I can reveal the violence behind them…

3. Replaced the word ‘submissive’ with ‘mother’ and ‘dominant’ with ‘child’

“Am I submissive? Maybe I come across that way. Maybe I misled him in the interview”


“Am I a mother? Maybe I come across that way. Maybe I misled him”

3. Did a search in my Kindle edition for the word ‘pain’ (75 instances, if you count ‘paint’ and ‘paintbrushes’).

4. Wrote down all the sentences in which the word ‘pain’ appears.

5. Took the definition of ‘submissive’ used in Fifty Shades:

tractable, compliant, pliant, amenable, passive, resigned, patient, docile, tame, subdued.

And found words in it:

tract, act, able, come, pliant, plant, ant, liant, map, amen, able, pass, sieve, sign, gen, sing, need, tent, net, pat, dol, cile, sub, due, bed.

6. Took the words I found, made more words from them, and used them to make something new:

Kathy didn’t want to be a tract. Wasn’t able to hope for broken glass, she was in prison. Comely little girl completely mad. Kathy has been lots of places. She plet her tongue before locating her desires and when she disappeared she pleted the ocean … Kathy is a sieve I use sometimes when I need a sign. Every one of Kathy’s books is signed with need with gen with sing at pat at patterns. Kathy used a net to make stories and Kathy had natty tits hidden in a tent top until needed…

7. Added in half lines and words from Kathy Acker’s novel In Memoriam to Identity (which was written by cutting up other texts)

8. Read out the contract then replace the woman with a pear:

“I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours”


She has ultimate control over the pear.
It cannot run away.

She reminds the pear it cannot run away by eating it, slowly.
For her pleasure. Not the pear’s.

9. Made something ‘new’ : words from Acker in italics, words from Fifty Shades in bold, the other words are ‘mine’. Words I replaced are in square brackets. I’ve used a ‘|’ to indicate when the text is taken from a different location in the same source text:

The child wants above all to be destroyed.

Before being born, he asks his mother ‘how much pain are you willing to experience? The pregnant woman already knows what it is to be flogged, spanked, whipped and corporally punished. |‘I’ll show you how bad it can be’ her unborn son says ‘Santa Klaus doesn’t exist’ she replies. ‘Ouch! Are you stamping your little foot?’

Whose identity [sexuality] am I and whose identity [sexuality] are you?

The entrance to her womb [to the hospital] says EMERGENCY.

She must be spread open. | Her heart must show.

10. Bought all the copies in my local charity shops and tore out the pages to make my set….I left a pile of pages in a hotel room in India and need to re-make it – if you have a copy you no longer need please donate it to the Rosemary Branch theatre.

One thought on “10 Things I Did to Fifty Shades of Grey

Comments are closed.