A cheer goes up as my knickers are ripped off. Little girl white-as-snow pants. They fall to the floor, passed my knees, red with falling over and smeared with blood, one frilly sock has slid down my calf towards the patent black dolly shoes. My legs are trembling, I'm tired, sore, breathing heavily and slipping around as Ringmaster pulls me towards him. I have no traction in these heels and can only brace against the rope around my arms and chest, aiming a decent kick in his direction as I crash to the ground once more. Another cheer. Outside, I'm furious, humiliated, crying with frustration. Inside, I'm grinning.
We're performing at Crimson and it's going well, there's a fantastic buzz coming from the crowd - needless to say we're playing up to it, encouraging the cheers, groans and even veering into pantomime/farce elements with "awwww" inspiring acts of tears and "shall-I-shan't-I" evil villain faces as he pulls me ever closer to the cattle-prod. There is contact. I scream. The crowd laughs.
I'm full of a heady mix of feelings. Caught in the interplay between the real and the staged. We'd run through the stages of what we were going to do when, but only in brief. Testing levels on the violet wand, on the cattle-prod, cutting slits into clothing for ease of ripping. It's different under the lights. Now, in front of everyone, we're going further and harder than where we'd started, and we're both loving it. Playing at being real. Really playing. Sometimes we are real, sometimes we play. The two are merging into each other. From the very beginning, when a punch to the gut let me spit the fake blood all over the floor, blood I was then dragged face down through, blood that caused someone in the audience to run forwards and shout at us to stop.
I am both taking part and playing a part. The blood might have been fake and we might not be actually trying to kill each other but some of the violence is real, the rope is real, the struggle is real and the electricity is very real. I'm experiencing several different things at once, and it is a huge rush. There's a note of victimhood, I'm shaky and hurt from violet wand shocks and the various bumps and bruises from being dragged around the stage. I am tired, the pants might be emphasised but they are certainly there. There's even a note of embarassment, the dollification outfit plus public stripping (which caused shrieks of excitement) makes me feel exposed. I'm partly getting into role, and partly already there - the tears are pulled from somewhere within me, as I watch myself being watched from my vantage point on the floor, a boot resting on my face. I'm also high on adrenaline from struggling against him, as well as getting a massive boost from the thrill of exposure, the exhibitionist's rush and the pleasure of giving enjoyment to all of those around us.
Eventually, naked and spent. We take a bow. Grinning like idiots.