The Play's the Thing


TEASER

Xena and Gabrielle are in yoga positions in a field. Gabrielle hums. Gabrielle stops.

GABRIELLE
It's no use. I can't get it out of my mind,
even with yoga.

XENA
Well, ya can't say thatcha didn't try. And ya can't
say that I didn't try.

GABRIELLE
I appreciate that. But, Xena it was one of my favourite
scrolls. A new one, charting our history
through the prism of time it was-

GABRIELLE and XENA
-a more intimate-

XENA
Examination of our relationship and on and on.
You've been talking about it ever since we left Paraeus.

GABRIELLE
I can't recreate the beauty, the essence.

XENA
Then, Gabrielle, go back for it.

GABRIELLE
Hmm?

XENA
Gabrielle, the prince needs my help in Arcon. I'm
gonna go ahead. You go back to Paraeus and
catch up with me when you can.

GABRIELLE
Are you sure?

XENA
Sure, I'm sure. Go on, make us both happy.

GABRIELLE
Thank you.

XENA
Don't mention it.

GABRIELLE
Okay.

Gabrielle leaves. Xena looks after her.

XENA
Well, when I say, "Don't mention it," I mean, you
can mention it. It's just a figure of speech. You
don't have to take it literally.

Xena moves over to Argo.

XENA
It wouldn't kill ya to maybe to look back or something.
Aw, rats. All right, Argo, it's just you and me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paraeus. A Tavern.

EXTRA
Welcome! Welcome!

SOPHOCLES
It was her underwear!

Sophocles stands with four women surrounding him. They leave with him.

EXTRA
You're much funnier than Euripides!

SOPHOCLES
I am!

He laughs, then sees Gabrielle.

SOPHOCLES
Oh!

Gabrielle moves up to them. Sophocles holds out his arm.

SOPHOCLES
Hu-uh?

GABRIELLE
Not in your lifetime. Thank you. (to herself) We
came through here.

SOPHOCLES
She'll never work in this town again.

GABRIELLE
We walked this way. We said hi to the tavern
keeper. We almost-

Joxer is sent flying and lands face down.

JOXER
Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h! Ooh!

GABRIELLE
Joxer.

Joxer moans.

EXTRA
Lousy drunk!

JOXER
I'm not drunk! I just trip over things like that!

EXTRA
Ah-h!

GABRIELLE
Joxer, what are you doing?

JOXER
Hi.

Joxer does a double take. He stands and faces Gabrielle.

JOXER
Gabrielle, wow! Uh, your hair.

He points to her Mehndi.

JOXER
Did that hurt? Uh, what's that you're wearing?

GABRIELLE
Sari.

JOXER
Don't apologize. It looks good.

GABRIELLE
Joxer, I'm looking for something. It's very
important. It's close to my heart, and I know
it's here, somewhere.

JOXER
Oh, uh, you mean, uh, like a feeling? D--d'ya get
it often? Like...now for example?

GABRIELLE
Yeah, because I know the scroll is here, somewhere.

JOXER
Oh, scroll. Well maybe you left it in one of these theatres.

Gabrielle sighs.

GABRIELLE
I wish I had. Paraeus is the great Appian Way.
You know, I could spend a week going to
all these plays.

JOXER
Yeah. Yeah, I--I--I love theatre myself. Uh, Euripicles
and Sopha...more.

GABRIELLE
Euripides. Sophocles.

JOXER
Yeah, those guys, too.

GABRIELLE
Ah, Sophocles. If I could pick one person to be
my mentor. His writing is perfect.

JOXER
Hey! Whaddya say, you and me go to a Sophocles
play? I'll bring a bag'a oats, and, you know-

GABRIELLE
Joxer, I really have to find my-

Zehra enters with Milo.

ZEHRA
Masterpiece!

She hands Gabrielle her scroll.

ZEHRA
Is that what you're looking for?

GABRIELLE
My scroll. This is it. Thank you. Thank you. Where
did you find it?

ZEHRA
I was sitting in the little girls' house, and there
it was, right beside me.

GABRIELLE
I'm sorry I don't have a lot of money for a reward.

ZEHRA
Reward schmeward! The fates have already
rewarded me enough. I am Zehra, a producer of
plays. This is my associate, Milo.

GABRIELLE
I'm Gabrielle.

Milo kisses her hand.

GABRIELLE
The writer.

JOXER
I'm, uh, Joxer, her associate. Joxer the Mighty.
You've probably read about me in those scrolls.

He chuckles, then looks at Gabrielle.

JOXER
Didn't she?

ZEHRA
Oh. Oh, oh, that was you. Oh!

Zehra and Milo laugh.

ZEHRA
Oh! Very good! I must say, in that stall I saw greatness.

GABRIELLE
Really.

ZEHRA
Your scroll, I wa--I was swept away by the majesty
of your words. The--the brilliance, the soul-changing
dynamic of your vision. This work must be
seen on the stage. And I...I would be so humbled
if you would allow me to produce it.

Gabrielle sighs.

GABRIELLE
That's very flattering. I...I can't.

ZEHRA
Hmm.

GABRIELLE
Uh, Xena needs me in Arcon. I...besides, my scroll
is meant to be read, not performed.

ZEHRA
Gabrielle, I--I know we're just like typical, flashy,
show-biz types to you, but I got into this business
because I believe in the arts. There is so
much garbage around but when I saw your scrolls,
well this is substance. Hmm? Don't the people
deserve to see it? Please? Please?

JOXER
(to Gabrielle) To think that people could be touched
by sum'in' left in a bathroom.

GABRIELLE
If I were to rewrite it for the stage I could show
people all the lessons I learned in India about
peace and happiness. I'll do it.

ZEHRA
Thank you! Thank you, Gabrielle! There is theatre
in your soul.

GABRIELLE
(reading) "And the very air sang with harmony
as Xena lay down her sword. And Humungus,
ennobled by her gesture, lay his down as well."
Okay! I'll get back to you right after I send word to Xena.

Gabrielle leaves.

JOXER
Oh? Yeah? Ah, well pretty good. "Humungus was
ennobled." All that.

He chuckles.

JOXER
Pretty good.

He chuckles again and follows Gabrielle.

MILO
"The air sang with harmony."

ZEHRA
I know!

She laughs.

MILO
Zehra, baby what scam are you up to now? Usually,
I can smell the money-

He sniffs.

MILO
-but I'm not sure what I'm-

He sniffs.

MILO
-smelling here.

ZEHRA
What if I told you we found the golden fleece, and
her name is Gabrielle?

MILO
You bad girl. What are you up to? If the village
witnesses this garbage, they'll throw your playwright
right out of town.

ZEHRA
Oh, dear heart, if she's lucky. The people I'm thinking
of are liable to kill her.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

A theatre. The Greek words are translated on the screen.

ATHENS ACADEMY THEATER
Presents
SOPHOCLES'
"THE WOMEN OF TRACHIS"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another theatre.

TITAN PLAYHOUSE
Direct from Rome!

"A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON
THE WAY TO THE ACROPOLIS"
Original Cast!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another theatre.

BY-THE-GODS
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
30th Smash Week!

"OH, ZEUS"

A Divine Comedy.
Laugh Or Be Smitten!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Apollo theatre. The second "L" falls off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

JOXER
What a dump. Where's the theatre?

ZEHRA
This is the theatre, dear boy. The Apollo is known
throughout the world.

JOXER
Mm-hmm. As a dive.

They move onto the stage.

ZEHRA
Here it is.

GABRIELLE
Needs a little cleaning and a touch of paint. Here.
There. There. But I can see it.

Zehra sighs.

ZEHRA
I knew I made the right choice. You have
an innate vision, Gabrielle. You see through the
exterior to the ghosts of performances past.

JOXER
Ghost? Where?

He draws his sword.

JOXER
Whoo! Whoa-oa-oa-oa-ah-ah-ooh!

Joxer falls off the stage.

JOXER
Al--l--l--l--l the way down here!

ZEHRA
I'm a true believer of the auteur theory.

JOXER
Ow!

ZEHRA
You are the creator, the writer. I cannot allow
someone else to interpret your vision. Therefore
I want you to also be the director.

GABRIELLE
The director.

ZEHRA
Yes.

JOXER
Ow!

GABRIELLE
Oh.

She chuckles.

GABRIELLE
I--I've never done anything like that before.

ZEHRA
Oh, but it must be you. There's so much to take
care of. Casting, set design, rehearsals.
You'll need an assistant.

JOXER
Oh! Oh! Can I?! Please?! Can I be an assistant?!

ZEHRA
Enthusiasm is so important. You should give
him a task that is worthy of it.

GABRIELLE
Okay, Joxer. It's you.

JOXER
Great! Um okay! Okay! Um, we'll start by
putting up a new flap back there. A whole
Aegean sunset. Then we'll, uh, we'll have to tear
out these walls, 'cause we need a new persineum
you know. Uh and, uh, I'll, uh, meet the press!
"How do you do? How...do you do?" Ha-ha-ha-ha.
And, uh, hmm, I'll hafta have lunch with an agent.

GABRIELLE
A-ha, I know just the job to start you with.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside. Joxer has hung a sign. He reads it to himself.

JOXER
"Open casting call. 'Gabrielle and Xena: A Message
of Peace.'"

Joxer backs up and bumps into Therax.

JOXER
Hey, do you mind? I'm trying to...

He sees Therax.

JOXER
...fill out my last will and testament.

THERAX
Huh. A new play. It sounds good. Oh, I can't wait
to see it. By the sons of Zeus! I love the theatre!

JOXER
Wow! This place is great! Even the warlords
love the theatre! Ha-ha-ha!

He hammers his finger.

JOXER
Ow! Oh-h!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside the theatre. Woman are lined up, dressed as Xena and Gabrielle. They practice.

EXTRA
I have many skills. Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi!

A thin Gabrielle runs out of the theatre.

EXTRA
Oh-h-h-h! I'm too fat!

EXTRA
Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. A Gabrielle Look-alike is on stage.

GABRIELLE LOOK-ALIKE
But Xena, you followed the violent approach in the
past, and what has come of it but more violence?!

GABRIELLE
Thank you. Next!

GABRIELLE LOOK-ALIKE
Huh?

She sighs and leaves.

GABRIELLE
I didn't realize casting Gabrielle would be so difficult.
There's j...it's a subtlety to the character.
I'm no...Zehra? Zehra.

Zehra takes out earplugs.

ZEHRA
Sorry, my dear. Your beautiful prose already rings
in my head. So, I'm looking for a certain physical
presence. Maybe you should take a break from
Gabrielles and try casting a Xena.

Gabrielle looks at Paulina, who is off to the side, dressed as Xena.

GABRIELLE
You. You look like Xena. Can you act?

She's REALLY bad! She clears her throat.

PAULINA
You were right, Gabrielle. How could have I been
so blind?

GABRIELLE
O--okay, now, um, try it like Xena would.

She does two flips.

PAULINA
Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi! Ay-yi-yi!

She delivers the lines the same.

PAULINA
You were right, Gabrielle. How could have I been
so blind?

GABRIELLE
She'll do. Besides, Xena requires more of an
athlete. Great! Uh, back to the Gabrielles!

Minya swings in.

MINYA
Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi!

She flips and lands using Xena's whip.

MINYA
Hee-yah! Ay-yah! Never fear! Xena is here!

GABRIELLE
Minya what are you doing here?

MINYA
Auditioning. Now my dream of being Xena can
finally come true!

GABRIELLE
I--I'm sorry, Minya, but the part's been cast.

Minya looks at Paulina.

MINYA
What, this bag of bones? She couldn't shoo a
mule, let alone bust heads!

PAULINA
I can too shoo a mule! (to Minya) Shoo!

MINYA
Oh! Why, you-

ZEHRA
Well, I see you have everything well in hand, my
dear. I must run 'n' meet with an investor. Good
luck, darling!

Zehra leaves.

MINYA
I was born to play this role. As soon as I heard
you were doing this, I knew I was what
you wanted!

GABRIELLE
Uh-uh, Minya how about playing a villain? They
usually have the best roles. I can write something
for you.

MINYA
Well, I could still use my Xena dark side, couldn't I?

She growls.

EXTRA
Do you see what I see?!

GABRIELLE
Oh, my gods!

Dustinus Hoofmanus enters.

GABRIELLE
Oh, my gods, a centaur.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
I understand you're putting on a play. My name is
Dustinus Hoofmanus. I wish to audition.

GABRIELLE
Centaurs do not do plays.

She chuckles.

GABRIELLE
There isn't a centaur in the entire Appian Way. Incredible!

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Yes...I am.

EXTRA
When I get them back-stage.

MINYA
Hm-m-m. Hm-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.

GABRIELLE
You're hired. I don't care what I have to do. You'll
be in the script, I promise.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Thank you. Oh, by the way, I do not play quadrupeds.
Make sure the role reflects that.

GABRIELLE
What?

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
I do not play four-legged creatures.

GABRIELLE
But you're a centaur.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
I am an actor! I refuse to limit myself.

He leaves.

MINYA
Ts-s-s! Gonna make him play a villain, too?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle holds an ad.

GABRIELLE
A Sophocles play? A brand-new Sophocles play?
It's opening opposite mine.

JOXER
Yeah, everyone was talkin' about it. Great art, huh?

GABRIELLE
Ah, it's a disaster. Sophocles is the master
of prose, of feeling, of plumbing the emotional
depths of human existence.

JOXER
Hmm. Writes good, too.

Gabrielle sighs.

GABRIELLE
No one's gonna see my play. Not with his opening
the same night as mine.

JOXER
Hey, that's not true, Gabrielle. I just ran into this
warlord. He said he was definitely coming
to see your play. Seriously.

GABRIELLE
That's it!

JOXER
What?

GABRIELLE
Who cares who sees my play, as long as
the right people see it?! This warlord, he
wants to hear my message of peace. That's who
my play speaks to. Fantastic. It's the artist's dream.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zehra meets with Kaelus.

KAELUS
Art smart! All I care about is getting my money
so I can buy those weapons my army needs.

ZEHRA
Don't worry, Kaelus. As a major investor, you'll
get seventy-five percent of the profits. Gabrielle
is doing this for next to nothing. All the credit
goes to her.

KAELUS
Hmm. Where's my drink?!

He leaves.

MILO
My little bowl of vipers, let me get this right. You
sold Kaelus the Conqueror seventy-five percent
interest in the play, right?

ZEHRA
Yes, dearest.

MILO
But you also sold seventy-five percent to the warlord
Therax the Terrible. Doesn't quite add up. If the
play is a success...

ZEHRA
If it was a success they would both want
their money, seventy-five percent each. But you've
read that play. It can't possibly succeed.
And if it's a failure...

MILO
They won't even try to collect and we keep
the investments.

He chuckles.

ZEHRA
Oo-o-oh, they'll try to collect, all right, but it won't
be from us. It'll be from-

Kaelus stabs a dagger into the ad with Gabrielle's picture.

KAELUS
It had better be a success.

ZEHRA
Great.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Gabrielle paints. Zehra and Joxer watch.

ZEHRA
Go on.

Joxer moves up to Gabrielle. He clears his throat.

JOXER
Hi, Gabby. I like the colours you're using
on that flag.

GABRIELLE
Thank you. It's the background vista to Xena's
redemption scene.

JOXER
Mm-hmm. Um, listen, uh, I was talkin' with Zera
and, uh, she thinks that you might need someone
to take over some of the more non-creative
aspects of the show.

ZEHRA
Publicity, promotion, ticket sales. Artists cannot
be bothered with trifles like that.

JOXER
Right.

GABRIELLE
Okay. Thanks, Joxer.

JOXER
Mm-hmm. That's why she made me the producer.

GABRIELLE
You? The producer? Of my play?! Not in this
world! Not in this life! Not on this stage!

She shoves him.

ZEHRA
Gabrielle.

JOXER
Okay.

ZEHRA
Please, producers have no weight in this community.
The stage is for the artists. We are merely functionaries.

GABRIELLE
Does this require him to spend time outside the theatre?

ZEHRA
Almost exclusively.

GABRIELLE
Okay.

ZEHRA
Good! Must rush, darling.

She kisses the air. Joxer moans.

GABRIELLE
Joxer selling a show takes more than hanging
posters. You really need to get inside the minds
of the people and find out what they want.

JOXER
Hey, I'm a people. I know what I want. I
know what I like.

GABRIELLE
Doesn't matter, anyway. I know who my
audience is.

JOXER
Well--well, that's great. That's perfect. You're the
creative side and I'm the business guy.

Joxer starts painting green lines on the blue backdrop.

GABRIELLE
What are you doing?

JOXER
This is the worst field I've ever seen.

GABRIELLE
Because it's an ocean.

Growling noises are heard.

JOXER
Hmm.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The cast sits. There is Paulina as Xena, a Callisto, an Ares and a Minotaur amoung the cast. Gabrielle and Joxer are on stage.

GABRIELLE
I want you all to know that this is a collaboration.

JOXER
That's right.

GABRIELLE
The success or failure of this show rides on all
of us, not one person.

MINYA
Well, I'm not gonna take the blame if she
turns out to be a lousy Xena.

Minya whips Paulina's foot.

PAULINA
Ow! Wouldn't be my fault! It'd be...the Gabrielle!
She's got all the lines. Hey, who did get that part?

Gabrielle chuckles.

GABRIELLE
Finding the right Gabrielle proved to be...more
difficult than I expected.

JOXER
Very difficult.

GABRIELLE
I realized that only one person can fully capture the
spiritual essence of Gabrielle. Someone who
actually lived that truth.

JOXER
Lived the truth.

GABRIELLE
So I--I cast myself.

JOXER
So, sh-

MINYA
(to the cast) Couldn't see that one coming,
could we?

Rivus moans.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A camp on stage.

GABRIELLE
So, remember Xena, faith is not a jump in the
night, but a walk in the light.

PAULINA
Look it's King Whatsis approaching on his...

She looks at the scroll. Minya, wearing a straw beard pops her head onstage.

MINYA
Horse!

PAULINA
Horse!

Minya enters as a guard with a spear. Dustinus Hoofmanus enters as a man on horseback.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Hello there friends, Gabrielle and Xena. I seek
your help. The warlord, Humungus, is behaving
in a destructive way, no doubt as a result of his
impoverished upbringing and other societal factors
beyond his control.

PAULINA
Here he comes, now!

Rivus enters as Humungus.

RIVUS
I am the warlord, Humungus! Are you Xena?

PAULINA
I am. Come. Sit down. We wish to give you-

ALL
-a message of peace.

RIVUS
Okay.

They all sit around the 'fire.'

GABRIELLE
And, curtain! Could that have gone better?! Great
work! Great drama. Okay, let's keep going. Minya,
come on, it's your big scene.

MINYA
Yeah.

She takes off her mustache.

MINYA
Ow. My big scene where I talk my issues out more.
It seems like all we do is talk. You know, maybe
the play might be even better if we just clobbered
some skulls.

RIVUS
Oh yeah.

Gabrielle sighs.

GABRIELLE
No, Xena doesn't do that. Her message is of peace.

JOXER
Yeah. Um, Gabrielle, the play is great. Um, maybe
if we just had a different title.

GABRIELLE
Like what? 'Springtime for Warlords'?

JOXER
Oh, w-well, or uh, 'Blood, Guts, and Babes.'

MINYA
'Wild Men in Rubber.'

RIVUS
Or 'Big Boys in Boxers!'

PAULINA
That would be great!

JOXER
You're on the right track, you know?

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
'Chorus of Showgirls!'

GABRIELLE
Stop it.

They keep going on, all talking at once.

GABRIELLE
Stop it. Stop it! Stop it! This is my play! Now, I am
in charge here, and I say we can make a few
changes, but we will not ruin my vision!

She leaves.

JOXER
Well, well, well, well. Aren't you all ashamed
of yourselves. Gabrielle put her heart and soul
into this play. And as a producer, I'm ashamed for
all of you. But as a producer, I have a few little
changes to make. First, we...

They gather together and start mumbling and talking.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zehra is at a table.

MILO
Zehra, so good to see you. Therax here wants to
check on his investment.

ZEHRA
Oh.

THERAX
Yeah, that's right. And if I don't like what I see I'm
grinding my profits from the bones of your
little playwright.

ZEHRA
Uh, Therax, sweetheart, don't worry. The show is
a guaranteed moneymaker. I can't say it
enough. This Gabrielle, she's an absolute genius.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle meditates.

GABRIELLE
I have inner peace. I can work with amatours.
In with love; out with hate. In with love. Out with hate.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joxer talks to the actors.

JOXER
Well, I just gotta tell her that that's just the way
it's gotta be.

Gabrielle enters.

JOXER
Gabrielle we were all talking and, um, we just
wanted to say that we're sorry.

GABRIELLE
Thank you. And I want to apologize for losing
control. I promise, it won't happen again. Okay?
Well, let's start where we left off, scene Eighty-Four.
Okay, first positions. Let's go. Paulina, when
you're ready.

Campfire scene. Paulina backflips in. Her outfit is now only a short top and a short skirt.

PAULINA
Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-ya!

GABRIELLE
Xena, is that you? I have pr-

Gabrielle sees her.

GABRIELLE
What happened to your costume?

PAULINA
Ask my producer.

Joxer pops in his head from the wings.

JOXER
Ooh. Gr-r-r-r-r-r. Um, I just figured, you know, a
little eye candy, what's the harm? Doesn't affect
the vision thing. It's all still the same. So go on.

GABRIELLE
Okay. Uh, let's move on to Act Eight. Um, it'll be
the, um, entrance of Whatsis. I'll give the cue.

She sighs.

GABRIELLE
Look it's King Whatsis on his horse.

Minya enters with three swords and looking mean. Dustinus Hoofmanus enters with Humungus's head on a spear.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Hello, Gabrielle and Xena. I have battled the warlord,
Humungus. His army destroyed my entire battalion.

GABRIELLE
What's this? It's--it's blood. You have a head on
your stick. (to Joxer) These are your changes?
Blood? Sex?

JOXER
Uh and a hot tub. I got the guys workin' on it in the
back. I thought to myself, "Joxer, what is it that you
like?" And I figured that's what the public wants.

GABRIELLE
Artists aren't supposed to care what the public
wants. We're not doing this for money.

RIVUS
Well, I am.

EXTRA
So am I!

EXTRA
Me, too!

GABRIELLE
Look, if you don't like my message, you can all
take off.

Rivus leaves.

RIVUS
Huh! Hmm!

GABRIELLE
No good playwright would have her art reduced
to garbage for the sake of a few dinars!

Gabrielle storms out. Zehra and Milo watch.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle goes to the theatre where Sophocles' play is being done.

GABRIELLE
I wonder what Sophocles would say. Why don't
I ask him? Artist to artist.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle enters. There are four lines on top of each other of skimpily dressed dancing girls. Two men battle atop them. One chops off the other's head and the other cuts the first one in half. Sophocles stands with his four women around him.

SOPHOCLES
I asked for blood! You call that blood?! And
shorten those skirts!

GABRIELLE
Sophocles?

Gabrielle leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apollo Theatre.

JOXER
It's her play, and we're gonna apol-

MINYA
Sure.

Gabrielle enters.

GABRIELLE
Okay.

JOXER
Hi, Gabrielle. Uh, listen. We were talking and, uh,
we just wanna tell you, we think you're-

GABRIELLE
I have an announcement to make. A message
means nothing if no one hears it. A flower in the
forest is just a plant if no one sees it.

EXTRA
Well. All right.

They are all confused.

GABRIELLE
We're gonna need more blood. I want more skin.
I want action. I want weapons. I want battlefields
with beaten, bloodied bodies. We're gonna take
this little flower and we're gonna cram it
down their throats for their own good.

JOXER
What about the critics?

GABRIELLE
It'll kill 'em all.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Joxer hangs a new poster over the old one. The new one is a bloody chakram.

JOXER
Faster, chakram; kill, kill, kill. Oh, boy.

He hammers his hand.

JOXER
Ah-h-h-h-h! Hah-hah-h-h! Oh!

He drops the hammer on his toe.

JOXER
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Onstage.

GABRIELLE
Kill 'em all! Kill 'em all! You see? It's from the back
of the throat. It's much more guttural. I mean we
have to believe the anger, the hatred for life okay?
Now, make that audience shiver.

Paulina is still terrible.

PAULINA
Kill! Kill 'em all!

MINYA
Yeah, they'll shiver, all right. With laughter.

She smirks.

PAULINA
Like you could do better.

MINYA
You bet I could.

PAULINA
(mockingly) Well, you can't 'cause I got the part.
Nah-h-h-h-h-h!

They fight.

GABRIELLE
That's good. Sell it to the back row!

Zehra enters with Milo.

ZEHRA
Gabrielle! Dear, I, um, see you've made some
changes. I hope this won't get in the way of your vision.

GABRIELLE
No. The vision's fine. Look, we're gonna need
a bit more in the way of cash.

ZEHRA
More? But darling, we were very specific about
the budget. The investors-

GABRIELLE
The investors want a hit, they can cough
up the cash. You tell them. And if they don't I
announce bankruptcy and we close the doors,
but I am not going to take this bird out until
she can fly.

ZEHRA
Well I'll see what I can do.

Zehra leaves.

GABRIELLE
(to cast) Good. Okay. Okay. Can you lift her up?
Lift her up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside.

MILO
But, sweet of my tooth if she increases the budget-

ZEHRA
She reduces our profit. I know.

MILO
We could just let her shut down. I mean this travesty
of a mockery of a play comes to an end
and we're home-

ZEHRA
And what, my little addle brain? The investors would
come at us, the money people. No. No,
no we have to come up with something before
Gabrielle turns us into a legitimate enterprise.

MILO
We could ask the warlords for more money.

ZEHRA
I'm already pushing the limit on their percentages
as it is.

MILO
Well the warlord Cleon is in town.

ZEHRA
Cleon?! Are you kidding?! Cleon fund a
play about Xena? He hates Xena. She
defeated him twice, humiliated him in battle. But
with the right sales pitch-

MILO
I get chills when that delicious brain of yours clicks.

Zehra squeals.

MILO
May I kiss you?

ZEHRA
Stop it.

MILO
Sorry.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Onstage.

GABRIELLE
Put the hot tub, center stage. I want the audience
to get an eyeful. Paulina. Paulina, no, no, no. You
need to grin wildly, like you can't wait to hack him
into pieces before you chop his head off!
"This is for you, Humungus, you vile bastard!"
Do you get it?

Paulina yells and cuts his head off.

GABRIELLE
What am I doing? All this sex, blood, violence?
Have I gone crazy?

JOXER
Gabrielle! We just sold out the first night!

GABRIELLE
Crazy like a fox! I want more blood! Let's make
it gushing!

Red paper blood explodes from Humungus's head.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zehra and Milo meet with Cleon.

CLEON
How'd you get Gabrielle to spill all of Xena's weaknesses?

ZEHRA
Simple. By having her write and direct a play
about her friend. And she told everything,
right, Milo?

MILO
Everything.

CLEON
If anyone could get to Xena, it would be that little
friend of hers. I'm in.

ZEHRA
Perfect!

MILO
Good!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Musicians play. Three women sing. Kaelus watches.

WOMAN #1, WOMAN #2 and WOMAN #3
(singing) Listen, now, and you will hear
The action-packed tale of Xena.
Xena! Xena! Xena, Warrior Princess. Wo-o-o-o-o-o-oh!

They leave and the curtain opens. Paulina and Gabrielle are in the hot tub. Therax watches.

PAULINA
Wow! I'm really wet!

GABRIELLE
Oh-oh. Me, too!

Dustinus Hoofmanus and Minya enter.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Ah-h-h-h! Xena! I've been searching for you high
and low! Please help rid my kingdom of that
scourge, Humungus!

Humungus, a doll pops up in the hot tub.

GABRIELLE
Xena! It's the warlord, Humungus! Help me!

Paulina yells and cuts off his head. Paper blood flies. Kaelus laughs. Gabrielle and Paulina rip him apart. Dustinus Hoofmanus cheers.

THERAX
Inspirational.

Gabrielle tears off a leg. Joxer gives Gabrielle the thumbs up, and she does the same to him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zehra and Milo sit at a table.

MILO
Please say it again. How much do we stand to make?

ZEHRA
What can I say? A lot!

Zehra and Milo laugh. Kaelus moves over to them.

KAELUS
I saw the play.

ZEHRA
Uh...

MILO
Sh-sh-

ZEHRA
I can explain, uh, you know what they say; a bad
dress rehearsal, great opening night.

KAELUS
I loved it.

ZEHRA
You did?

KAELUS
Aw, the power, the passion, the danger, the blood,
that...kick-butt feel! This show is gonna run for years!

He laughs, then leaves.

MILO
Ow. He actually liked it?

ZEHRA
This is not good.

MILO
If the play's a success, we're-

ZEHRA
Don't say the 'Delta' word.

Therax steps out. Zehra gasps.

ZEHRA
The other warlord, Therax.

Therax gives them a thumbs-up.

THERAX
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Milo gaps.

MILO
Oh, what could have happened?

ZEHRA
That Joxer, he was right on the money. We have
to get Gabrielle back to that boring, pretentious,
heavy-handed material we fell in love with.

MILO
Yes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Onstage. Zehra and Milo enter.

JOXER
Now, girls!

ZEHRA
Darlings, congratulations!

MILO
Congratulations.

ZEHRA
Your play is already the talk of the town. I ran into
one of the investors, the warlord Kaelus the Conquer.
He snuck into rehearsal, and what he saw just
blew him away! I have never seen
anyone so galvanized as he was.

MILO
Galvanized.

ZEHRA
He said he wanted his entire army to see
the play!

JOXER
Wow. Uh. Uh, how many in his army? We got a
matinee that hasn't sold out yet.

ZEHRA
Apparently he's planning on invading a neighboring
country and well your play is certain to fire up his
army! Goodbye, darlings!

MILO
Goodbye, darlings!

ZEHRA
See you opening night!

She kises the air. She and Milo leave.

GABRIELLE
Oh, my gods.

EXTRA
This is great!

JOXER
What?

GABRIELLE
What have I done?

JOXER
Well apparently, you've created a great
motivational play.

GABRIELLE
For warlords. I sold out, Joxer. I can't believe it.
I sold out.

Zehra and Milo turn and listen.

GABRIELLE
Look we are going back to my original vision. I
don't care how much money we lose. It's going
to be peace, love and changing the world.

Zehra and Milo chuckle. Cleon is in the wings.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Outside. The poster hangs.

JOXER
Oh ta-da!

GABRIELLE
'A Message of Peace.'

JOXER
Yep.

GABRIELLE
Great. No pretensions, no ego.

JOXER
Nope!

GABRIELLE
Gotta hurry! People should arrive soon.

JOXER
Right! Ha-ha-ha.

Gabrielle goes inside. Joxer steps to the side and there's a stand with a picture of him. It reads, "A Joxer Production."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Backstage. Joxer peaks out of the curtain.

JOXER
(whispering) Wow.

He moves to Gabrielle.

JOXER
Gabrielle, Criticus, from Borias, is in the audience
right now. Don't worry. He's gonna love it. Your
vision's great.

GABRIELLE
Thank you.

She kisses him. Gabrielle leaves. Cleon knocks out Joxer.

JOXER
Hmm.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The warlords enter. Zehra and Milo enter and laugh. Gabrielle steps out from the curtain.

GABRIELLE
Welcome to the premiere performance of 'Gabrielle
and Xena: A Message of Peace.' If you're looking
for titillation, blood, violence, you've come to the
wrong place.

The audience moans.

KAELUS
What's she up to? Hmm?

GABRIELLE
Behold the love, the peace and be changed.

The curtain opens. Gabrielle sits on the log of the campfire set.

GABRIELLE
Xena, fearless, noble, a mighty princess, forged
in the heat of battle. How many lives have been
saved by your warrior heart, once you learned
to empty it?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Backstage. Joxer stumbles into Minya.

MINYA
Oh, Joxer, what's up, Bubba?

JOXER
Uh, danger, violence, blood?

MINYA
No that was the good version.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Onstage. Cleon hits Joxer behind the set.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
-that antisocial way!

GABRIELLE
King Whatsis, take us to Humungus.

She holds a paper dove.

GABRIELLE
We will bring him-

PAULINA and GABRIELLE
-a message of peace.

The dove is lifted up. Joxer flies through the set, yelling.

GABRIELLE
Joxer, we're in the middle of a scene.

Joxer moans and points.

JOXER
Bad guy!

The audience laughs and then Cleon does.

CLEON
No one takes my money and gets away with it!
You're coming with me!

GABRIELLE
Humungus. (corrects herself) Cleon.

CLEON
That's right, Cleon.

Xena enters.

CLEON
If I can't get the secrets of defeating Xena at least
I'll get her little friend.

Xena taps his shoulder.

CLEON
Huh?

He turns and Xena moves the other way to stand with Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
Xena.

CLEON
Oh, go away. You're not even a good actress.

XENA
Now, that was a little uncalled for. She-yah!

Xena kicks him and sends him flying.

EXTRA
Wow!

THERAX
Xena?

KAELUS
Xena.

MILO and ZEHRA
Xena?

GABRIELLE
What are you doing here?

XENA
Gabrielle, I knew there'd be trouble when I
saw the playbill. It listed Zehra as the contact.
She's the queen of cons.

GABRIELLE
The queen of cons?

KAELUS
What have you done to my play?!

THERAX
Your play?! I put up the money! Where's
the blood?! The death?! Where's all the fun?!

KAELUS
Get them!

THERAX
Come on!

XENA
No time to talk. It's time to act.

Xena fights Therax's and Kaelus' men. The sound effect guy works. Zehra and Milo start to leave.

GABRIELLE
Somebody stop them!

No one moves.

GABRIELLE
Interactive theatre! Everybody join in!

They all move to grab them. Xena keeps fighting. Dustinus Hoofmanus' costume is knocked off, revealing him.

EXTRAS
Ooh! A centaur!

The critics write. Xena fights.

CLEON
Time to give the crowd what they want!

Cleon starts to move forward.

JOXER
Hey Pee-wee.

He grabs Cleon's leg.

JOXER
Why you, ooh!

Cleon kicks him. Xena fights. Sound effect guy works.

CRITIC #1
The play's not bad. I just don't buy that Xena.

Xena ululates.

CRITIC #2
There's the opening of 'Buffus, the Bacchae Slayer'
across the street.

Xena fights. Minya and Paulina help. Cleon enters. Xena throws her chakram, which drops sandbags on each warlord.

CLEON
Huh?

Joxer's leg is grabbed in the rope and he's pulled off his feet. The crowd claps and cheers. The sound effect guy passes out. The crowd stands, cheering. Xena and Gabrielle stand before the crowd and the curtain closes behind them. Xena points to Gabrielle and she bows as the crowd keeps cheering.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later. The three warlords are tied up. Xena drops three bags of gold.

XENA
Here's your money. At least what Zehra and Milo
didn't spend. You can keep it or, in the spirit of
the play, you could donate it to an orphanage.
It's your call.

CLEON, THERAX and KAELUS
Orphanage.

XENA
Excellent choice. As for you, Zehra-

ZEHRA
Oh, oh, oh. Uh, Xena I've seen the error of my
ways. Starting now, I'm gonna find a legitimate
career that best suits my natural abilities.

Dustinus Hoofmanus enters.

ZEHRA
Ooh Dustinus! I've been watching you, and I am
impressed, darling. Have you ever considered
changing representation? I'm opening a new agency.

He sighs.

DUSTINUS HOOFMANUS
Very well. But what I really want to do is direct.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later. Outside.

GABRIELLE
Ah, it was stupid. To think that people would
want to hear about peace and love instead of
sex and violence.

XENA
Well, peace might be boring, but it's all anybody
really wants.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, no one wants to be preached to. They have
to experience things for themselves. Still, if I could
have touched one person-

Minya and Paulina exit the theatre.

MINYA
Gabrielle, I wanted to thank you! I never would
have met Paulina if it wasn't for you! In fact, the
two of you made me realize something deep
down about myself that I guess I always knew,
but just didn't dare admit. Yes, I'm a...thespian.

She takes Paulina's hand and the two run off, giggling.

XENA
Oh. Hah. Congratulations. You managed to
touch someone.

GABRIELLE
That's not exactly what I had in mind. I wanted to
change violent people into people of peace, not
actors. That is what she said, right? Deep down,
she's a thespian?

XENA
Yeah, um, that's what she...said. Yeah.
Why? What'd you think?

GABRIELLE
Thespian-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joxer is still hanging.

JOXER
Hello?! You guys?! Hey! I'm the producer! Anybody?!
Hello?! I'm gonna tell my brother! Mommy?!

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Ted Raimi as Joxer
Alison Wall as Minya
Jennifer Ward-Lealand as Zehra
Mark Hadlow as Milo
Peter Muller as Dustinus Hoofmanus
Polly Baigent as Paulina
William Davis as Kaelus
Mark Nua as Cleon
Stephen Hall as Therax
John McKee as Rivus
Tammy Barker as Gabrielle Look-alike
Eduardo de Campos as Sophocles
George Port as Critic #1
Denys Hoskins as Critic #2
Rietta Austin as Woman #1
Mary Henderson as Woman #2
Dee Wernham as Woman #3

Written by: Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden
Directed by: Christopher Graves

Disclaimer: Although no great literary works of art were harmed or plagiarized, a few thespians stole some scenes during the production of this motion picture.