- You may also be looking for the song, "The Play's the Thing"
|The Play's the Thing|
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 4|
|Original Air-Date||15 March 1999|
|Written By||Ashley Gable & Thomas A. Swyden|
|Directed By||Christopher Graves|
|Order in Series||85 of 134|
|Order in Season||17 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||236 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"The Way"|
|Next Episode in Series||"The Convert"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Academy"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Love on the Rocks"|
Xena and Gabrielle are travelling to Archon. They take a pit stop in a large valley, where Xena and Gabrielle practice yoga, but Gabrielle is upset over losing the scroll that details her latest journeys with Xena. Xena tells her to go back to Piraeus to find the scroll and they can meet in Archon later.
When Gabrielle returns to Pireaus, she encounters Joxer and is approached by Zehra and Milo, who have the missing scroll. Zehra, who thinks Gabrielle's message of peace is inspirational, introduces herself as a producer and convinces Gabrielle to base a play on her writings. Thrilled with the idea, Gabrielle sends word to Xena about her new business venture and she and Joxer head to the theater to begin casting.
Meanwhile, Zehra and Milo individually approach the warlords Cleon and Therax and convince each of them to invest large sums of money in Gabrielle's play. Knowing that the play will be a failure on its first night, Zehra plans on taking the money and leaving town. Gabrielle would be blamed for the loss and would have to fend off the angry warlords. Back at the theater, the cast grows restless.
They are bored with the material and everyone, including Joxer, tries to get Gabrielle to add more blood, guts and glory to her vision. Gabrielle does not want to compromise her artistic integrity, but becomes so overwhelmed with the cast's pleas she goes to seek advice from the great Sophocles, who has a play opening the same night.
Gabrielle is stunned when she enters the theater and sees the stage full of sex and violence. She convinces herself that if the great Sophocles can produce such material, so can she. Gabrielle rushes back to the theater with a new vision in mind.
Later, as Gabrielle and the cast change the play, two of the warlords sneak into the theater. Engrossed by the violence, they like what they see. Zehra also sneaks into the theater, sees the warlords in hiding and is shocked at the new violent version of the play. Realizing that the new version of the play will be a hit, Zehra convinces Gabrielle to go back to her original vision of peace. Later that night, Gabrielle's play opens to a sell-out crowd and people start to leave almost immediately. Enraged with the thought of losing their money, the warlords rush the stage.
Suddenly, Xena emerges from backstage and fights the warlords. While Xena and Gabrielle battle the warlords, Zehra and Milo attempt to exit the theater. Gabrielle yells for the audience to become involved with "the play" and they stop the two scam artists. Xena retrieves the warlords' money and convinces them to donate the funds to the local orphanage. Meanwhile, an unreformed Zehra attempts to con some of the actors into letting her represent them. Minya and Paulina become friends. Minya tells Gabrielle that she has learned that deep down she's a... thespian. Joxer is left hanging upside down in the theater.
Although no great literary works of art were harmed or plagiarised, a few thespians stole some scenes during the production of this motion picture
Behind the Scenes
- This episode is an homage to the Mel Brooks film The Producers, in which a pair of unscrupulous producers attempt to put on a play that's bound to fail so they can make off with the investors' money.
- Gabrielle's sarcastic suggestion of changing the name of the play to Springtime for Warlords references the name of the show from The Producers: Springtime for Hitler.
- The title of this episode is a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet. It comes from Hamlet's Act II soliloquy:
- "More relative than this:--the play's the thing
- Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."
- Peter Muller previously played Deric, another Centaur, who appeared in "As Darkness Falls", "Outcast" and "The Wedding of Alcmene" on HTLJ. (The first two episodes listed are also noteworthy for featuring Lucy Lawless as Lyla, Deric's wife.)
- Lucy Lawless only appears at the beginning and end of this episode. This is called a "Xena-Lite" episode.
- Polly Baigent, who plays Paulina, was one of Lucy's body doubles on the show. And Tammy Barker, the girl who auditions for the part of Gabrielle, was one of Renee's body doubles.
- Rob Tapert said in a commentary on the Season Three DVD Set on his dislike of this episode, “This was Season Four after India. Gabrielle’s going to put on a play with Joxer. May have joined “Vanishing Act” as one of the least good ones we ever did.“
- Jennifer Ward-Lealand (who's married to Michael Hurst) has been previously seen on Xena: Warrior Princess as Boadicea in "The Deliverer". She also appeared in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode "All That Glitters" as Voluptua.
- In Titan: The Official XENA Magazine, Issue #13 – December 2000, Alison Wall said some parts of the script change during shooting. She remember that this episode got changed quite a lot from read through. But that the episode was so much fun to film, because it had a lot of physical comedy and improvisation in it. She said "And with people like Ted Raimi on set, you start to ask yourself, ‘Why am I getting paid for this?’, because it’s all very silly and very enjoyable.”
- The name of the character Dustinus Hoofmanus, is a pun on the latinized version of the actor, Dustin Hoffman.
- The critics reference a play named "Buffus, the Bacchae Slayer", of course a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Gabrielle renames the "rewritten" play as "Faster, Chakram! Kill! Kill!". This is a parody of the 1965 Russ Meyer film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
- This episode marks the return of Minya, who hadn't appeared on Xena: Warrior Princess since "The Quill is Mightier...," 29 episodes ago.
- When the "Gabrielles" are auditioning, one of the auditionees runs out and says "I'm too fat?!" However, when she says this, her mouth doesn't move.
- When Joxer is painting the set, he is using side to side techniques with his brush and it doesn't look like any paint is on the brush. In the next shot however, he is making hash marks and there's a large amount of paint on the brush.
- Chakram Count: 1
- To knock down a weight from the stage and take out Cleon.
- In the scene when Gabrielle exchanges conversation with Joxer, he misunderstands her when she replies that the costume she is wearing is known as Sari.
- Gabrielle is shocked that Sophocles's play is full of sex and violence. In the real world, Sophocles's plays are filled with such themes, even when they are not directly depicted on-stage. His magnum opus, Oedipus the King, features the suicide of its female lead and the self-mutilation of the male one, when each of them realizes they are involved in an incestuous relationship.
Links and References
- 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
- UNCREDITED as Tavern Owner
- Athens Academy Theater
- The Women of Trachis
- Titan Playhouse
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Acropolis
- By-The-Gods Performing Arts Center
- Oh, Zeus
- Apollo Theater
- Gabrielle and Xena: A Message of Peace
- Faster, Chakram! Kill! Kill!
- The Play's the Thing (song)
- Buffus The Bacchae Slayer
- Jett (mentioned)
|<< Season 3||Season 4||Season 5 >>|
|#01||Adventures in the Sin Trade||#09||Past Imperfect||#17||The Play's the Thing|
|#02||Adventures in the Sin Trade II||#10||The Key to the Kingdom||#18||The Convert|
|#03||A Family Affair||#11||Daughter of Pomira||#19||Takes One to Know One|
|#04||In Sickness and in Hell||#12||If the Shoe Fits...||#20||Endgame|
|#05||A Good Day||#13||Paradise Found||#21||The Ides of March|
|#06||A Tale of Two Muses||#14||Devi||#22||Deja Vu All Over Again|
|#07||Locked Up and Tied Down||#15||Between the Lines|