A Play On Words




Disclaimer 1: The main characters used in this script were created by Rob Tapert and John Schulian, developed by R.J. Stewart, and are owned by MCA/Universal/Renaissance Pictures.


Disclaimer 2: Although theatrical irony was pushed to the limits during the writing of this script, it was not hurt.

Summary: Gabrielle is putting on a play in Athens , but dark forces are conspiring against her. ‘A Play on Words' takes place just before ‘The Little Tyrant' and involves Xena meeting Discord for the first time after they've both come back from the dead.


Main Characters:






Scene: Joxer, Xena and Gabrielle are walking along a busy street in Athens . Day. Joxer is walking ahead being protective of the women and looking out for trouble.

Xena: Joxer, what are you doing?

Joxer: You guys have to be careful, you're in the big city now.

Gabrielle: I've been to Athens before.

Joxer: Yes, but you're naive country girls at heart. You haven't been brought up on the mean streets of Athens like I have. You don't know the kind of danger that could lurk anywhere.

Xena: Joxer, watch out!

Joxer, who has turned around as he talks to Xena and Gabrielle about the dangers of the big city, walks straight into a beam carried by two men. He falls to the ground.

Gabrielle: Joxer, are you okay?

Joxer: Did you see what just happened there?

Xena: Yeh, you walked right into that beam.

Joxer: Yes, as a demonstration about how dangerous Athens can be. Luckily you've got me as your guide and protector.

Xena: Yeh, there's no way we would have spotted that massive beam without you walking straight into it.

Joxer: Exactly. You've got to pay attention.

Xena and Gabrielle help Joxer to his feet.

Gabrielle: Joxer, relax, we can look after ourselves. This is not the first time I've had a play performed in Athens . But it's the first time that you guys will see one of my plays. Exciting eh?

Xena: ( Unenthused. ) Yeh, I'm looking forward to it.

Gabrielle: Don't sound too enthusiastic, Xena.

Xena: I'm sorry, I'm just not a theatre person.

Gabrielle: You'll like this play; it's a fun farce. The humour is very broad.

Xena: Oh, it's so broad even I would get it?

Gabrielle: I didn't mean that.

Joxer: Is anyone hungry? I could go for some spicy food since we're in India .

Gabrielle: Xena, I'm sure that once you see the play you'll ... are you okay, Joxer?

Joxer: I'm fine, Meg.

Gabrielle: I think you need to lie down. I've booked us a couple of rooms at a place just around the corner. We can get something to eat there.

Xena: ( Noticing someone lurking in the shadows of an alleyway .) Who's that? I know that person.

Gabrielle: You don't know anyone in Athens . Come on, I'm hungry.

Joxer: Let me lead the way; there are dangers everywhere. You see that guy over there? You see? He could be dangerous.

Xena: He's just selling fruit.

Joxer: That's exactly what he wants you to think.

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer walk up the street. Discord moves from out of the shadows. She has two thugs with her.

Discord: So, Gabrielle wants to put on her little play. That's not going to happen.

Thug 1: Are we going to kill her?

Discord: Now what would be the point in that? My name's Discord remember? I spread discord, and there can't be discord if I kill everyone. No, we're going to steal that play and Xena's going to get the blame. Gabrielle's very temperamental about these things.

Thug 2: I thought we were going to kill someone?

Discord: Haven't you been listening? Look, if you do as I say I'll let you kill someone.

Thug 1: That idiot with the helmet?

Discord: Joxer? Yeh, why not. In fact, we will kill him, but Xena is going to get the blame. I do come up with some brilliant ideas, don't I?

Thug 2: But didn't I come up with the idea of killing Joxer?

Discord grabs the thug and lifts him off the ground.

Discord: Who's the god here?

Thug 2: You, Discord.

Discord: And who thought of that brilliant idea?

Thug 2: You, Discord.

Discord lets the thug down.

Discord: Good. Now we wait for our chance.

Thug 1: How long's that going to take?

Discord: Why, have you got a boat to catch?

Thug 1: I just don't want to wait around here all day.

Discord: If I know that annoying little blonde bard like I think I do, she will be working on last minute annotations for her play; she's an obsessive perfectionist. And of course Xena will volunteer to deliver the annotated play to the director because she'll just be dying to get out of the house. And then we lie in wait. Got it?

Thug 1: Got it.

Scene: Inside a theatre. Producer (Kachingus) is watching a rehearsal of a play. Writer (Tornicus) is working with actors on a stage.

Tornicus: I want more energy, people! Honestly, it's like you haven't woken up today. And your timing is way off. Comedy relies on timing. We must have timing. Now take five, people, and think about timing.

Kachingus walks up to Tornicus and hands him a playbill.

Kachingus: Tornicus, this is Gabrielle's new play. It's sold out its first week. Look, she's even got a rave review from Plautus. ‘Smashing comedy' he says. I bet that Roman barbarian hasn't even read it yet. And he's coming all the way from Rome for opening night.

Tornicus: Plautus doesn't come to any of my plays.

Kachingus: ( Muttering. ) There's a good reason for that.

Tornicus: What?

Kachingus: Our backers don't like competitors drawing in all the punters. In fact, I've just been talking to them. They say this is our last chance; our play has to succeed or they'll pull funding.

Tornicus: But what will I do if I can't write plays?

Kachingus: Get a proper job?

Tornicus: Now's not the time for cheap shots, Kachingus. I was born to write. There's only one thing for it; Gabrielle's new play must not happen.

Main Titles.

Scene: Tornicus and Kachingus talking to two heavies inside a house.


Kachingus: Now gentlemen, you understand your orders?

Heavy 1: Yeh, we get some play off of an annoying blonde bard.

Kachingus: More or less.

Heavy 2: What kind of muscle she got with her?

Kachingus: No muscle.

Tornicus: I heard she rides with a warrior called Joxer.

Kachingus: As I said, no muscle.

Tornicus: What about Xena? You know, that dangerously unstable brunette?

Kachingus: Xena's dead.

Tornicus: But I heard she's come back, and she's even more unstable than ever.

Heavy 1: I bet she's just a myth.

Heavy 2: Xena or no Xena, we can take anyone.

Kachingus: That's just the kind of fighting talk I like to hear. Now off you go.

Scene: Inside a room at the inn. Xena is talking to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: I just wish you would have more respect for my writing.

Xena: When have I not shown respect for your writing?

Gabrielle: Plenty of times.

Xena: Like when?

Gabrielle: What about the time you used one of my scrolls to wipe your...

Xena: There were no decent leaves around, you know that, and when you gotta go you gotta go, especially with my delicate digestive system. Look, I like your stories, I like your poems, but this theatre stuff, it's just grown adults playing make-believe.

Gabrielle: Actors are artists.

Xena: Oh come on. Any kid can play make-believe.

Gabrielle: Xena, can you do me a favour and not refer to acting as ‘playing make-believe'? Acting is a serious profession.

Xena: Profession? Yeh, only for people who can't find real jobs.

Gabrielle: And what do you do for a job, Xena?

Xena: I help people, you know that. What are we waiting around here for anyway?

Gabrielle: One of the actors. I've rearranged a scene and I want to see how it sounds.

Xena: I'll go through it with you.

Gabrielle: I'm not sure if that's such a good idea.

Xena: What, you saying I can't play make-believe?

Gabrielle: Xena, for the last time it's called acting, and it's an art form.

Xena: If you're no good at doing anything else.

Gabrielle: Xena!

Xena: No okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, that wasn't called for. I'll help you out.

Gabrielle: I don't know.

Xena: Come on. How hard can it be?

Two heavies enter carrying clubs.


Xena: Well, I take it this isn't room service.

Heavy 1: We're going to make this real easy on you ladies. You give us the play, and we won't break your heads.

Ad break.



Xena: ( Mock scared .) Oh no, Gabrielle, what are we going to do?

Gabrielle: ( Looking over her play .) Xena, just deal with this, I'm far too busy.

Heavy 1: Xena! So you are alive.

Heavy 2: Not for much longer if you don't give us that play.

Xena: I'm not going to.

Heavy 1: Then get ready to be hurt.

The heavies rush Xena, but Xena fells them with a double kick to their heads.


Heavy 1: For a myth, you sure pack a wallop.


Heavy 2: Let's get out of here.

Heavy 1: ( Sarcastic. ) Really? I was going to stand around here and get hit some more.

Heavy 2: Quit the wisecracks and let's go!

They run out the door.


Xena: Amateurs. I didn't even break a sweat. Whoever's paying those heavies is getting a raw deal. Why would someone want to steal your play?

Gabrielle: Don't sound too puzzled.

Xena: I didn't mean it like that. Now where were we?

Gabrielle: Okay, here's the scene, your parts are underlined. We'll start with me. ‘We got trouble with a warlord'.

Xena: ( Over-emoting .) ‘There's only one way to deal with him, we'll have to kill him.'

Gabrielle: Xena, what are you doing?

Xena: I'm acting.

Gabrielle: I don't want you to act, I just want to see how it sounds. So read it normally.

Xena: Hey, if I'm going to do this thing I might as well do it properly.

Gabrielle: Okay okay. ‘That's always your answer to every problem, isn't it?'

Xena: ( Over-emoting .) ‘I'm a warrior, if an army attacks me, I kill the lot of them. Mercy is a weakness. Ruthlessness is strength.'

Gabrielle: Xena.

Xena: ( Over-emoting .) ‘I have conquered nations, and I'll let no man conquer me. Not this warlord, not any warlord.'

Gabrielle: Xena.

Xena: ( Over-emoting .) ‘He will rue the day he ever rode into this valley looking for spoils'.

Gabrielle: Xena, will you just read it straight!

Xena: What's the matter? I'm just trying to help.

Gabrielle: I know, I know, and you did the best that you could.

Xena: Don't patronise me.

Gabrielle: Okay then, you were lousy. You may have many skills, Xena, but acting is certainly not among them.

Xena: I've changed my mind. Patronise me. That sounded better.

Gabrielle: Look, if you want to help, can you take the play with my annotations over to the director on Olympus Street .

Xena: What's a director?

Gabrielle: A director directs the actors through the play. You know, tells them how to say their lines.

Xena: Are you telling me that these so-called actors actually need to be told how to play make-believe? I knew how to do that when I was five.

Gabrielle: Are you going to help me or not?

Xena: Yes, I can do that for you.

Gabrielle: Good. And take Joxer with you, he knows where to go, and he could do with some air. Oh and please take care of that play. It's very important that the director sees my annotations.

Xena: Now I'm offended. What do you think I'm going to do with it, throw it in the gutter?

Gabrielle: I'm sorry, I guess I'm a little nervous. Thanks for doing this.

Xena: Don't mention it. Joxer!

Gabrielle: Right, while you're doing that, I've got to kiss a girl.

Xena: Fine.

Xena walks out of the room, but then slowly comes back in again.


Xena: What do you mean ‘kiss a girl'?

Gabrielle: There's an important kiss in the play between the two protagonists and it has to be just right, but the lead isn't getting it. The kiss has to be ambiguous, but she's kissing far too passionately, so I have to show her how it's done.

Actress (Jenica, an attractive young woman who looks a lot like Xena) enters.


Gabrielle: Ah, Jenica. This is Xena.

Jenica: Honoured to meet the great warrior.

Xena: ( Suspicious .) Nice to meet you.

Gabrielle: Let's get straight to it, Jenica. Kiss me like it says in the script. ( They kiss .) No, you see, that's still far too passionate. Try again. ( They kiss .) No, that's more like a mother daughter peck. I want to keep the audience guessing.

Xena: How long are you going to do that for?

Gabrielle: Until we get it right.

Joxer walks up to the door.


Joxer: You were calling? ( Xena is distracted by the woman kissing. ) Xena? What are you ... ( He notices Gabrielle kissing Jenica and stops talking.)

Gabrielle: That's getting there, that's an improvement. ( Turns and notices Joxer and Xena staring at her. ) Yes?

Scene: Xena is walking with Joxer down a street. Joxer is on lookout.

Joxer: Stay behind me, Xena, you don't know the dangers.

Xena: Oh stop it. ( Notices the shadowy figure in the alley .) Hey, there's that woman again. I know her. I'm going to talk to her.

Joxer: We're meant to be going straight to the director's house.

Xena: Don't worry, we'll get there.

Joxer: Gabrielle won't like it.

Xena: Gabrielle won't find out. Besides she's too busy making out with that actress. Ambiguous kiss, my arse.

Xena walks into alley. She stops in front of the shadowy figure (Discord).

Xena: You look familiar. Have we met?

Discord: Once or twice. ( She reveals herself .) Discord's the name.

Xena: Discord! Didn't I kill you?

Discord: You're not the only one who can come back from the dead. Boys, get her.

Two thugs jump out at Xena.


Xena: Joxer, hold onto this.

Xena hands Joxer the manuscript as she deals to the two thugs.

Joxer: I told you this city is dangerous.

Discord grabs the play from Joxer's hands.

Discord: Thank you.

Joxer: Hey!

Discord races down the alley to the street. Joxer tries to follow, but Discord shoots a bolt at him which sends him to the ground.


Out on the street Tornicus and the Kachingus are walking and talking.


Kachingus: Well those heavies were useless. And we paid far too much for them

Tornicus: What are we going to do now?

Discord runs out onto the footpath but is so busy laughing at Joxer she runs into Tornicus and Kachingus. She sprawls onto the ground and drops the play.

Tornicus: Oh, I'm sorry.

Discord: Idiots!

Tornicus picks up the play.

Kachingus: Look, it's Gabrielle's new play.

Tornicus: With her annotations.

Kachingus: Providence , my good man, providence. Let's go.

Discord: Hey, give it back.

Tornicus and Kachingus run away up a side street. But Discord appears in front of them. Slowly wagging her finger.

Tornicus: Oh no, you're not a mortal are you?

Discord: No I am not. I notice that I have a piece of dirt under my nail. If you don't give me one good reason why I should let you live by the time I clean it, I will kill the pair of you.

Kachingus: We are but humble thespians wanting to stop Gabrielle's play from happening. We're sorry, you can have the play back.

Discord: I want to destroy the play as well. So I don't really need you.

Kachingus: But what about the other copies?

Discord: Other copies? So what was the point in me stealing this one?

Kachingus: This one has her annotations.

Discord: So instead of destroying her play, I've just mildly inconvenienced her? That's no good.

Tornicus: But Gabrielle's a perfectionist. It will set her back.

Kachingus: And make her really mad.

Discord: And she'll want her annotations back, and then we'll be waiting.

Kachingus: We?

Discord: Yes, you can join my team. I sense we have synergies.

Tornicus: Who's your team?

Discord: Where have my thugs got to?

Scene: In the alleyway. The two thugs lie beaten and bruised on the ground. Xena stands over them.

Xena: These idiots were worse than the others. Joxer, pass me the... ( notices Joxer lying smoking on the ground ) ...Joxer?

Joxer: Now I know why they say it's dangerous to smoke.

Xena: Joxer, where's the play?

Joxer: Discord took it. Hey, I could really do with a help up.

Xena: Why didn't you stop her?

Joxer: I tried, but I got zapped. I'm really hurt.

Xena: Oh no, what is Gabrielle going to say?

Ad Break.



Scene: Xena walks with Joxer into the inn.

Xena: Okay, so you've got our story straight?

Joxer: Yeh. Attacked by thugs, nothing we could do.

Xena: Good, because if Gabrielle catches us out in a lie we are in serious trouble.

Joxer: What's this ‘we' business?

Xena: Hey, we're in this together, so don't you forget it.

They walk into their room. Gabrielle is sitting down.

Xena: Hi, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: Hi. Did you give my play to the director?

Xena: You know it was a funny thing.

Gabrielle: ( Very concerned .) Ha ha funny, or you've lost my play funny?

Xena: Now look, hang on, before you go jumping to wild conclusions, let me tell you what went down. We were on our way to the director's house minding our own business, going straight there and not deviating, when we were jumped by thugs.

Joxer: Big thugs.

Xenas: Huge thugs. From all sides. And they attacked Joxer.

Joxer: Attacked me.

Xena: And while I was defending Joxer, they got away with your play.

Gabrielle: Oh no, this is a disaster. I spent hours on those annotations. Days in fact. What am I going to do now? Opening night is in two days. We have a dress rehearsal this afternoon.

Joxer: Then I guess you had better start writing more annotations. ( Gabrielle gives him a cold glare. ) Or I could just shut up.

Gabrielle: You do that, Joxer.

Xena: And neither of us got hurt by the way, so thanks for asking.

Gabrielle: I didn't think you'd get hurt in a common street fight, Xena. But you're right, the important thing is you're not hurt, I suppose. Why would thugs go after you?

Joxer: Actually Xena chased the thugs into an alleyway; she thought she recognised their leader.

Xena: Joxer!

Gabrielle: Xena! You lied to me? You went off chasing thugs when you were meant to be delivering my play and you lost it. And then you have the audacity to lie to me.

Xena: That's not how it happened. Okay, that's exactly how it happened, but can you blame me for lying? I knew you were going to react like this.

Gabrielle: Xena, you couldn't walk across town without getting into a fight.

Xena: I said I'm sorry.

Gabrielle: What's sorry going to do? Is that going to bring back my play?

Xena: I'm just trying to...

Gabrielle: Let's see if sorry gets my play back. ( Goes to the door .)

Xena: Gabrielle, I get your point, you don't have to...

Gabrielle: ( Calling out to the hallway .) Sorry! Sorry! ( To Xena .) Do you see my play coming back?

Xena: No I don't, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: No, because sorry is not going to fix it.

Xena: Well, what can I do?

Gabrielle: Go out and find it.

Xena: How can we find one play in the whole of Athens ? That'll take forever.

Gabrielle: Well you better make a start then. You to, Joxer.

Joxer: How is this my fault?

Xena: And I'm hearing no pleases by the way.

Gabrielle: Out!

Xena and Joxer are bundled out into the hallway. We see Discord observing the scene incognito.


Discord: I love a good argument.

Meanwhile, out in the hallway.

Xena: Why didn't you stick to our story?

Joxer: I'm sorry, it just came out.

Xena: If you ask me, Gabrielle is being unreasonable. It wasn't our fault.

Joxer: She is being unreasonable. And I think you should go back in there and tell her that.

Xena: ( Uncertainly. ) You think so?

Joxer: You're not scared of her are you? I've seen you fight giants; Gabrielle's five foot four on tiptoes.

Xena: Yeh, but she's really really mad.

Joxer: Xena, are you a woman or are you a mouse?

Xena: I'm a woman.

Joxer: Good, now go back in there and tell her she's being unreasonable. It's not as if we lost the only copy of her play, just her annotations.

Xena: You're right.

Joxer: Remember, you're a woman, not a mouse.

Xena: Not a mouse.

Xena fortifies herself and walks back into the room.

Xena: Gabrielle, I really think...

Gabrielle: What! What do you think!

Outside the room. Xena comes charging out and runs past Joxer down the hall.

Xena: I'm a mouse, I'm a mouse.

Joxer: This calls for a man's firm hand.

Joxer walks into the room.

Joxer: Gabrielle...

Gabrielle turns and gives Joxer a withering glare.

Joxer: Xena, wait up!

Joxer runs after Xena.

Scene: Down in the common room of the inn. They are both nursing drinks.

Xena: We are truly in the doghouse now.

Joxer: Again, what's this ‘we' business?

Xena: Hey, we're in this together. You got that? Oh, and don't you dare tell Gabrielle that Discord is involved; Gabrielle's got enough on her mind without having to worry about a vengeful god.

Joxer: Relax, I won't mention it.

Xena gives Joxer a sceptical look .

Joxer: Hey, when have I ever let you down?

Xena buries her face in her hands.

Joxer: Well, I'm not so pessimistic. It's a simple case of asking people if they have seen the play.

Xena: Asking people? And how many people live in Athens ?

Joxer: About three hundred thousand.

Xena: Joxer, that is by a wide margin the dumbest plan we've got. But it has one thing going for it.

Joxer: What's that?

Xena: It's the only plan we've got. So we might as well start at this place.

Scene: Director's house. Director is tied up by Discord's thugs. Tornicus and Kachingus stand by. Kachingus holds another script. Discord appears.


Discord: Sorry I'm late, boys, I was just overseeing an argument. Great, so that's the second script we've got. Four more to go. ( To Director .) Now, you're the director of Gabrielle's silly little play; there are only six copies right?

Director: Yes.

Discord: Good, because if there are more, I will personally come back here and rip your arms off.

Kachingus: Of course, the actors have probably memorised the play already.

Discord: What?

Tornicus: The actors have spent weeks rehearsing the play. They've memorised the lines. You don't know much about theatre do you?

Discord: So what is the point of stealing all these copies?

Kachingus: Do be honest, we just didn't want you to kill us.

Tornicus: But we have the annotations. They haven't memorised the annotations.

Discord: Oh forget the annotations. I'm over annotations. We'll kidnap the actors. But we have to make sure Xena gets the blame.

Tornicus: Why is that?

Discord: Because I'm Discord, it's what I do. Right now I've got Xena and Gabrielle bickering with each other, and I want to make it worse.

Kachingus: How do we do that?

Discord: By killing Joxer of course.

Tornicus: You didn't say anything about killing people.

Discord: With me that's a given.

Scene: Gabrielle walks into the Inn 's common room. Walks up to Xena and Joxer.

Xena: Oh hi, Gabrielle. We still haven't been able to find the play, but we're doing all we can. We've asked around here and no one's seen it.

Gabrielle: No, I'm sorry, I overreacted, I'm just a bit nervous about the play. I'm sure we'll find it. We're two intelligent adults.

Joxer: Hey, I'm helping as well.

Gabrielle: We're two intelligent adults plus Joxer. Hey, Joxer, can you go across town and tell the director what's happened? He might even know who's behind the theft.

Joxer: I'm right onto it. You sure you two will be safe here without me?

Gabrielle: Joxer, go.

Joxer: Okay, but keep your eye on that guy. ( Points to old guy. )

Xena: He's a hundred years old.

Joxer: That's what he wants you to think.

Joxer leaves.

Gabrielle: I know of one place we could look. It's a long shot but it just might be there.

Xena: Where?

Gabrielle: An alternative literature shop. I know about it through a friend of a friend of a friend.

Xena: What's alternative literature?

Gabrielle: Here's the thing, you know the two female protagonists of my play?

Xena: Vaguely.

Gabrielle: They're lovers. And this is a shop where that kind of romance is explored in very graphic and explicit and stomach tingling detail, so I hear, through a friend of a friend of a friend.

Xena: Lovers? Where does it say in your play that they are lovers?

Gabrielle: It doesn't say it.

Xena: But you just said...

Gabrielle: It's in the subtext. You see, that's why the kiss has to be ambiguous.

Xena: Subtext? What is subtext?

Gabrielle: It's what's not written, but rather implied and teased and hinted at.

Xena: Sounds pointless to me. If they're lovers why don't you just say they're lovers?

Gabrielle: Because subtext is nice, it's playful, it's a little secret between the artists and the audience, and plus it lets me write in plenty of sexy puns and innuendo. It's fun. So my theory is that maybe someone has found my play and tried to sell it to this shop. I just hope I can still remember where it is.



Ad Break

Scene: Outside the alternative literature shop up a back street in Athens . Gabrielle is with Xena.

Gabrielle: Ah, here it is. I only go in here for research.

Xena: Research?

Gabrielle: Yeh, for my writing. And even then only on very rare occasions. In fact I hardly ever go here, I'm surprised I managed to find the place.

They walk in.

Assistant 1: Hi, Gabrielle.

Assistant 2: Oh hi, Gabrielle. Nice to see you back again.

Gabrielle: ( Sheepishly. ) Hi. ( To Xena .) So I go in here a few times, but for research purposes only.

Xena: What is all this stuff?

Gabrielle: Alternative literature. Some fans of the Xena scrolls write stories of their own about what we get up to between adventures. You know, when the baddies are dealt with and we're relaxing around the campfire.

Xena: I just sharpen my sword. What's so interesting about that?

Gabrielle: After that.

Xena: I go to sleep.

Gabrielle: Before that. Here, read this. ( Hands Xena a scroll she has picked from a shelf .) I'll go talk to one of the shop assistants who I hardly know and see if they've had anything come in.

Xena: ( Reading scroll .) Hey, look what this writer's got us doing with a melon. It's disgusting.

Assistant 1: Sorry, Gabrielle, we haven't had one of your plays come in.

Gabrielle: That's okay, it was a long shot.

Xena: I'm not sure I like being used as a subject by just any bard. Why can't they make up their own characters? ( Reads some more of the scroll. ) Look, now we're playing with a suggestively shaped turnip.

Assistant 2: Oh, Gabrielle, your copy of Sapphic Monthly has just come in.

Xena: You care to explain that?

Gabrielle: It's for research.

Xena: What kind of stuff are you writing?

Gabrielle: ( To Assistant 2 .) I'll take it, thanks. ( To Xena .) This is the first time I've ever bought anything from here.

Assistant 1: Shall I put it on your account, Gabrielle?

Gabrielle: ( Sheepishly. ) Yes please.

Xena: ( Places the scroll she was reading on the counter. ) Put this on her account as well. ( Gabrielle gives her a look. ) Well, I have to see how it ends, and you always tell me I should read more. I'll pay you back.

Gabrielle: How? You don't have any money.

Xena: I'll pay you back in some other way.

Assistant 1: Actually there's a story that starts off like that. It's one of our best sellers too. Xena pays off a debt; although it's not in China , but it does involve chains and a dungeon.

Xena: I'm not sure I like this at all. That's our private business these people are writing about.

Gabrielle: Oh it's just a bit of fun.

Xena: So now what do we do?

Gabrielle: I really need those annotations.

Assistant 1: I have heard that Tornicus and his producer Kachingus are very jealous of your work. In fact they're putting on a play at the same time as you.

Gabrielle: You think he's trying to sabotage my play?

Assistant 1: Word on the street has it his backers are about to pull out. He could be desperate.

Gabrielle: I'm not surprised; his writing is terrible. Well, Xena, we'll go over and see Tornicus. Wait a minute, I have to be at rehearsals soon.

Xena: Oh no, not more girls kissing.

Gabrielle: The kiss is only a small part of the play, but pivotal, Xena, pivotal.

Xena: While you rehearse, I'll go see this Tornicus guy. Although I might need some help. ( To shop assistant. ) Why do you sell all these cucumbers?

Scene: Aphrodite's temple. Xena walks in.


Xena: Aphrodite. Aphrodite! I haven't got all day!

Aphrodite appears.


Aphrodite: What's with the major ‘tude, warrior babe?

Xena: Did you know that Discord's back from the dead?

Aphrodite: Yeh I do; it's terrible. She's started to redecorate Olympus . What is it with women who like black? It's so depressing.

Xena: How did she come back?

Aphrodite: Dahak wanted companionship, if you know what I mean.

Xena: You'd think that when you kill a god they'd have the common decency to stay dead.

Aphrodite: You're telling me. She even brought Dahak up to Olympus . And I have the room next door to her. I couldn't get any sleep. She was screeching all night and...

Xena: I don't want to know. Right now she's trying to stop Gabrielle's new play from being performed.

Aphrodite: That's horrible.

Xena: I know.

Aphrodite: Gabrielle's got a new play and she didn't invite me to the opening? I thought we were like way tight? And I have just the outfit for opening night.

Xena: Believe me, I don't think you're going to miss much. Anyway, I can deal with Discord's thugs, I just want you to stop Discord.

Aphrodite: I guess I can do that.

Xena: Good, take me to Discord.

Aphrodite: There's been like a way massive shortage of pleases in this conversation, Xena. I've had to cut short my daily hair combing routine for this. You see this hair? This is unacceptable hair.

Xena: It's good hair.

Aphrodite: I don't do ‘good' hair, Xena. I do great hair.

Xena: Aphrodite, pretty please can you take me to Discord.

Aphrodite: That's better.

Scene: Director's house. Discord and her thugs are here, as well as Kachingus and Tornicus. Joxer is tied up and gagged.


Discord: Thanks for coming to us, Joxer. Saved us the trouble of finding you.

Xena and Aphrodite appear.


Discord: Oh hello, Xena. Just in time to see your friend die, and all for the sake of Gabby's stupid little play. And wasn't Gabrielle the one who sent him over here?

Xena: Forget it, Discord, you're not setting Gabrielle and me against each other.

Discord: We'll see about that when Joxer's bleeding to death. And Aphrodite, thought I could smell something horrid.

Aphrodite: No, I think that's just your own armpits.

Xena: Joxer, I see you've made your usual contribution. ( Takes gag out of Joxer's mouth. )

Joxer: Hey, I tired them out for you.

Xena: Yeh, they must be exhausted from tying all those knots.

Discord: Get out of here, Aphrodite. This has got nothing to do with you.

Aphrodite: When you're disrupting my friend's play, it has everything to do with me.

Discord: You know being friends with a mortal is really pathetic?

Aphrodite: Discord, let's leave the mortals in peace shall we?

Discord: What are you going to do, love me to death? Come on, boys, get'm.

Aphrodite shoots a bolt at Discord which throws her against the wall.

Discord: I see you've learned a few tricks.

Aphrodite: Well, when a certain warrior vigilante massacres most of your family, you learn to toughen up.

Xena: You still on my back about that?

Discord: ( To thugs .) Don't just stand around looking at them, waste them. And as for you, love god, that was just a lucky shot. I'm going to tear you apart.

Xena fights and beats the thugs. Kachingus and Tornicus make a getaway.

Kachingus: Exit stage left, my friend.

Tornicus: I'm right behind you, Kachingus.

Discord and Aphrodite fight to a stalemate.

Discord: Oh, I'm sick of this. I'm out of here. See you at opening night, Xena. It would be a shame if something bad were to happen.

Discord laughs and then disappears.

Aphrodite: Isn't this exciting? We can all see Gabrielle's play.

Xena: I didn't take you for a theatre person.

Aphrodite: Hey, I'm like way appreciative of art and stuff. Is there any full male nudity in this play?

Xena: Not that I know of.

Aphrodite: Oh, that sucks.

Joxer: Could someone please untie me?

Xena: I don't know, I'm getting kind of used to you like that.

Ad Break.

Scene: Xena is sitting with Joxer in the audience inside a theatre on opening night.

Xena: I'm sure Discord and her thugs will try something. But don't tell Gabrielle, I don't want her worrying.

Joxer: Trust me, I won't.

Gabrielle walks up to them.

Joxer: Oh Gabrielle, Discord is not here.

Gabrielle: I know, Joxer. Discord's dead.

Joxer: Exactly, so there's no need for you to worry about her being here.

Gabrielle: Joxer, get that head of yours looked at. ( To Xena .) I'm so nervous.

Xena: It will be fine.

Joxer: Are you sitting with us?

Gabrielle: No, I'll be backstage having a quiet panic attack.

Xena: Well, good luck.

Gabrielle: Why, do you think I need it?

Xena: No, just calm down.

Gabrielle: Okay, I'll see you after the show.

Joxer: Break a leg.

Xena: What a horrible thing to say.

Gabrielle: Xena, in theatre it's good luck to wish someone bad luck.

Xena: I stand by my opinion, actors are weird.

Gabrielle hurries away. Xena picks up the playbill.

Xena: How long does this thing go for anyway?

Joxer: I don't know about you, but I'm expecting to be entertained.

Xena: I just hope it's short.

Curtain goes up. Two actors are on stage, Jenica playing Xerena, and another actress, who looks a lot like Gabrielle, playing Gabella.

Gabella: We got warlord problems, Xerena.

Xena: Xerena?

Xerena: Yeh, well I don't like warlords, Gabella. You know what we do with warlords?

Gabella: We reason with them? Give them a chance to change their ways?

Xerena: No, we kill them all!

Xena: That's an unflattering caricature of me!

Joxer: Oh it's just a play. It's funny.

Gabella: Just as long as that bumbling idiot Boxer doesn't try to save the day.

Boxer enters the stage.

Boxer: Aha! I'm Boxer the Brave, and I'm here to save the day. I knew you girls were having trouble with Draxor and his men. Boxer the Brave, at your service, ladies. ( He falls over a chair. )

Joxer is unimpressed. Xena laughs.

Xena: Now it's getting funny. ( Notices the thugs. ) It's Discord's thugs!

Joxer: Aphrodite said she'll take care of it.

They look at each other.

Joxer: We better take a look.

Joxer and Xena go backstage. Discord is fighting with Aphrodite around a table of food for the actors and stagehands. Discord's thugs look on.

Aphrodite: Oh hi, Xena, just taking care of things.

Discord: ( To Aphrodite .) Keep out of my way, cuddle bitch. ( To thugs .) Well, don't just stand around scratching yourselves. Get Xena. ( To other thug .) And you, go out onto the stage and disrupt the show.

A thug tries to run out onto the stage but Joxer trips him up. Xena knocks two thugs out and then roughs up the thug that Joxer tripped over. Gabrielle walks in.

Gabrielle: What's going on?


Xena quickly pushes a thug out of sight under the table, while Aphrodite pushes Discord's face into a bowl of drink.


Xena: Nothing.

Gabrielle: Aphrodite, what are you doing here?

Aphrodite: Not being invited to your play, that's what. I thought we were besties?

Gabrielle: I didn't think you were interested in theatre. What are you doing to that woman?

Aphrodite: Woman? What woman? Oh this woman. Nothing really. She's just a bit thirsty.

Stagehand comes up to Gabrielle.

Stagehand: We've got a problem with one of the costumes.

Gabrielle: What? Okay, I'll be right there. ( To Xena and Aphrodite. ) This is weird behaviour, guys.

Gabrielle walks off with stagehand. Discord pushes her head out of the bowl of drink.

Discord: I am going to destroy you, you frilly little tart. And that punch needs more tequila.

Aphrodite: Temper temper.

Xena deals to the last thug. Discord lets fly a bolt. Aphrodite deflects it back to Discord who is thrown back against the wall.


Xena: Shhhhh!

Gabrielle walks in.


Gabrielle: What's that noise? What is going on here?

Discord picks herself up.

Discord: I'm just about to dish out some pain on a blonde bimbo.

Aphrodite: Blonde bimbo? That is so not cool. Don't talk to my friend like that.

Xena: Actually, Aphrodite, I think she was referring to ... oh never mind.

Gabrielle: Discord? I thought you were dead.

Aphrodite: No, she's back, and she was trying to stop your play, therefore creating a bit of friction between you and Xena. Lame-o plan, Discord. Even I could figure it out.

Discord: Bite me, town chariot.

Gabrielle: Why didn't you tell me this, Xena?

Xena: Because I didn't want you to worry. You were stressed enough with your new play as it was.

Gabrielle: That's so sweet, and after I was really grumpy at you to.

Discord: Oh this is getting sickly. I'm outta here.

Discord disappears.

Aphrodite: Great, now I can watch the rest of your play.

Scene: Xena, Joxer and Aphrodite sit in the audience watching the play. Aphrodite is asleep snoring. The play finishes. Everyone claps and Aphrodite wakes up and applauds.


Aphrodite: Did I miss any male nudity?

Xena: No, Aphrodite.

Scene: Backstage after the show. Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Aphrodite are talking.


Aphrodite: Great play, writer babe.

Gabrielle: Thanks. What part did you like the best?

Xena: Yeh, Aphrodite, tell us all about the part you liked the best.

Aphrodite: Um, you know what, I'd love to tell you all about it, but I better check up on Discord. She tends to change the furniture around if I leave her on her own. Bye. We'll do lunch, sweetie.

Aphrodite disappears. Plautus walks up to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: Plautus, I'm so glad you could make it.

Plautus: You've done it again, Gabrielle. A comic masterpiece. I love that Boxer, he's such a profound idiot. He cracks me up all the time.

Joxer: ( Unimpressed .) Hey.

Plautus: And as for Xerena. You capture the mind of a dangerously unbalanced personality so well.

Xena: Excuse me?

Plautus: I just love how those characters can be used for comedies as well as action adventures and melodramas. Look, I gotta go see a man about a centaur, but I'll catch you at the after party.

Gabrielle: Okay. ( Plautus leaves. ) What a great guy. ( Xena and Joxer give her stern looks. ) What?

Admirer walks up to Gabrielle.

Admirer: Fantastic play, Gabrielle. One of your best.

Gabrielle: Thanks.

Scene: Crowd is leaving the theatre after the show. Patrons are talking to each other.

Patron 1: It was alright for a light comedy. But I like her dramatic plays better.

Patron 2: Are you kidding? I love the comedies. Some of those dramas just wear you down.

Patron 3: The comedies are okay, just as long as they don't rely on bodily function humour, which is the lowest form. But that play where Gabella went to an undersea fantasy world? Give me a break!

Patron 2: Hey, I liked that one.

Patron 3: You'd be the only one.

Patron 1: And I don't get the ambiguous relationship. If they're lovers then they should just say so. This is modern Athens for goodness sakes.

Patron 2: I like the subtext, it's nice.

Tornicus and Kachingus walk by.


Kachingus: Another classic comedy romp, Tornicus. What are we going to do?

Tornicus: Get real jobs, Kachingus, get real jobs.

Kachingus: Oh the horror!

Scene: Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer walking down a country road. Day.

Joxer: And thanks to me you've both survived Athens .

Xena: Couldn't have done it without you, Joxer.

Gabrielle: With all the excitement, you guys haven't told me what you thought of my play.

Xena: It was good except for the fact that you made fun of me and Joxer the whole way through it.

Gabrielle: I didn't make fun of you.

Xena: Oh come on, you made that Joxer character out to be a total fool and you made me into a mentally unstable vigilante.

Joxer: Yeh, that Boxer was an idiot, and I am not an idiot. ( Falls over on his face .)

Gabrielle: Xena, those characters weren't you. Playwrights get this all the time. I just use a few things here and there from real life, that's all.

Joxer: Guys, I think I've twisted my ankle.

Gabrielle and Xena walk on ignoring him.


Xena: Gabrielle, I know when I've been parodied.

Gabrielle: Xerena, you're being ridiculous. ( Realises her slip .)

Xena: Ah! I knew it, I knew that character was based on me.

Gabrielle: No it wasn't. Are you dangerously unstable?

Xena: Well, no.

Gabrielle: There you go.

Joxer: Guys, I think I've really hurt my ankle.

Gabrielle: So did you think the subtext came over alright? What about the kiss? Was the kiss just right?

Xena: You sure practiced it enough. I still think you should just say that they're lovers.

Gabrielle: You know, some people ask me about the nature of our relationship.

Xena: Oh yeh? And do you tell them to mind their own business?

Gabrielle: I see no reason why I shouldn't tell them that...

Joxer catches up with them, slips in between them with his arm around each woman.

Joxer: So what's our next adventure? Who will we battle? What monster shall we slay?

Xena: I don't know, Joxer, but it will no doubt provide fodder for slapstick comedy.

Gabrielle: You're being paranoid, Xena.

Xena: And I have every right to be.


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