| Athens City Academy|
of the Performing Bards
Gabrielle tells a story
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
Athens City Academy, Athens
|Original Air-Date||January 22, 1996|
|Written By||Steven L. Sears|
|Teleplay By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||Jace Alexander|
|Order in Series||013|
|Order in Season||13|
|Previous Episode||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts|
|Next Episode||A Fistful of Dinars|
SummaryEditAfter Gabrielle enthralls the crowd in a local tavern with tales of Xena's heroic exploits, she is approached by a gentle young man named Orion, who asks if she's planning to participate in the Bard Competition at the Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards. When she learns that the top four contestants will be admitted as students to the Academy, she decides to audition, especially after Orion's father Polonius tells her that the Academy is definitely not for young ladies.
She bids Xena a bittersweet farewell and travels to Athens, where the tryouts are about to begin. There she manages to con her way onto the list of registrants after mesmerizing Orion and a group of other student hopefuls with a tale of the spectacular battle between Xena and the villainous Draco which took place in her village.
Later, as Gabrielle and the other contestants listen to the opening speech of Docenius, the head of the audition panel, a stranger leaps to the stage. Brandishing a sword, he stabs Docenius and escapes through a window. As the performance hall erupts in chaos, Docenius calmly gets to his feet and challenges his audience to take the event and turn it into a story. Angered by the manipulation, Gabrielle protests and goes into her bard mode to tell the story of Celesta's capture by Sisyphus and Death's ultimate release. Spellbound by her tale, the crowd bursts into spontaneous applause.
Orion is thrilled but Polonius, seeing her as formidable competition for his son, becomes extremely worried. When Gabrielle and a number of her fellow storytellers, including the pompous Euripides, the stuttering Twickenham and the animated Stallonus, gather in her room that night to practice their performances, she enthralls them again with stories about Xena.
The next day, when Orion asks her to critique his tale, she honestly tells him that his performance is being hampered by his obvious concern about the reaction of his audience. When he confesses that storytelling was pure joy for him as a child -- before his father began directing him -- she urges him to stop trying to please Polonius and to start pleasing himself instead.
Meanwhile, Polonius tells Academy registrar Kellos that Gabrielle conned her way into the competition and succeeds in getting her disqualified. As she begins to pack up to leave, however, her fellow entrants convince her to stay through the competition.
The following day, all those competing join together and refuse to continue without Gabrielle. The great bard Gastacis, acting as the senior judge, calls for her to tell a story and after she is finished, declares she must be reinstated.
Later, as the competition intensifies, a hypercritical Polonius angrily rehearses his son backstage until Orion flees in despair. When Gabrielle learns he has quit the competition, she convinces him he mustn't give up and urges him to start telling stories his way again, without the advice of his well-meaning but misguided father. Orion finally returns to the auditions, but tells his father to stop interfering. In the end, Orion is accepted to the Academy after a brilliant performance and reveals to Gabrielle that his real name is Homer.After an equally awesome audition, Gabrielle rejoins Xena and confides that even though she was also accepted, she'd rather be living life's adventures with Xena than telling stories about them as a bard.
The producers would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas and all those who were involved with the making of the film classic "SPARTACUS". Additional thanks to Steve Reeves.
|"“[By this point in the series] I already had a couple of love interests, and then [this] particular role – [Orion] – came up… so there was a choice on how to play it, whether it should be another quest for an experience in life romantically that Gabrielle would have, or someone who would just be a friend. I thought it would be a great way to show that men and women could have relationships, be friendly and compete with each other on an equal basis, so that created another aspect to Gabrielle.”"|
| ― Renee O’Connor (Actor, Gabrielle)
Source: (Starlog Magazine #236 – April 1997)
|"“R.J. and I were sitting in the House of Blues, trying to figure out what kind of a clip show to do, and I said we had a natural in the sense that Gabrielle is a bard and likes to tell stories. R.J. snapped his fingers and said, ‘What if she wants to go to the Academy and tell these stories?’ We then decided that it would be a competition, so we would hear stories from other people, and we didn’t want them to show Xena clips, because that would make them the equal of Gabrielle. With Stallonus, every time he talked, it was a fight scene from some cheesy Hercules movie. We then had to figure out our other characters, so we just went on until we figured what clips would fit each particular character, and then we said, ‘What story is Orion going to tell?’ because he has to tell the story that wins the competition, and I believe it was Rob who said, ‘Spartacus!’ It was the perfect piece for Orion, and we acknowledged Kirk Douglas’ award-winning role. I think it’s one of the most creative clip shows ever done.”"|
| ― Steven L. Sears (Writer/Producer)
Source: (Starlog Magazine #236 – April 1997)
Behind The ScenesEdit
- Shooting Dates: October 24th, 1995 through October 27, 1995 (4 day shoot).
- This episode was the 11th episode of the series to be filmed, but aired as episode 14.
- The scene where Gabrielle drops all the scrolls from the registrar's table is actually very similar to something that occurred when Renee first audtitioned for Rob Tapert for a part in the Hercules movie. She knocked some things off his desk and her game reaction to the situation helped to convince Mr Tapert that she had just the right qualities for the spunky Young Deianeira. That role led directly to the part of Gabrielle as soon as the pilot for was sold to USA network.
- This episode contains clips from Hercules episodes featuring Xena, Xena seducing Iolaus and turning him against Hercules, from 'The Warrior Princess' (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) and Xena saving the baby and running the gauntlet as a result, as well as killing Darphus, from 'The Gauntlet' (HTLJ).
- Dean O'Gorman who plays Orion also played Young Iolaus in the Young Hercules series, as well as the Hercules series itself when they did a Young Hercules show.
- Whilst the events in this episode take place, Xena sets events in motion for the Season 2 episode "The Execution".
- The first clip show of the series.
- This was the first xenalite episode.
Links and ReferencesEdit
|Season 1||Season 2 >>|
|#01||Sins of the Past||#09||Death in Chains||#17||The Royal Couple of Thieves|
|#02||Chariots of War||#10||Hooves and Harlots||#18||The Prodigal|
|#03||Dreamworker||#11||The Black Wolf||#19||Altared States|
|#04||Cradle of Hope||#12||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts||#20||Ties That Bind|
|#05||The Path Not Taken||#13||Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards||#21||The Greater Good|
|#06||The Reckoning||#14||A Fistful of Dinars||#22||Callisto|
|#07||The Titans||#15||Warrior... Princess||#23||Death Mask|
|#08||Prometheus||#16||Mortal Beloved||#24||Is There a Doctor in the House?|