In response to tough austerity measures under way in Greece, trade unions have decided to stage a 24 hour musical extravaganza based on E.L James’ erotic trilogy.
Cashing in on the economic success of the best-selling novel (with its combined sales of 10.5 million in 2012), organizers hope to end the spending cuts and tax rises with a heady mix of BDSM and toe-tapping tunes. Although the role of a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, is still to be cast; Union Leader Ilias Iliopoulos has already won through at audition to take the part of young, business magnate, Christian Grey.
While theatre critics have been lukewarm in their reception, warning audiences to “beware of Greeks bearing toxic debt”; news of cheap stand-by tickets has been greeted with enthusiasm by the young and old alike. Greeks have been rallying outside parliament in Syntagma Square, waving flags and banners. Audiences are expected to fill Amphitheatres up and down the land; leading to disruption in public transport and some essential services.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is “cautiously optimistic” about this "mass mobilization". The country’s record unemployment rate of 27% would almost certainly drop by employing a chorus line of 2 million young people in spandex leggings.
Philip Jones, editor of industry magazine The Bookseller, says “there is no reason why the popularity of printed masochism cannot translate to the stage”. Mr Jones points to the similarities between Christian’s bondage “non-disclosure agreement” and the Euro-zone pact. “These themes of dominance and submission do seem to strike a chord with the Greeks at the moment.”
Nearly 3bn euros (£2.5bn; $4bn) of bailout money were approved this week, most of which has now been spent on set and costumes. With the score by Tim Minchin, text by Angela Merkel and after six straight years of recession - this show could run and run!