Copyright © 2001 by Barbara Davies.

Xena: Warrior Princess Interview on Late Night with Gelasius

as told to

Barbara Davies

DATELINE: A few days before the events portrayed in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode: 'The Gauntlet'.

----

[Return from commercial, audience is cheering.]

GELASIUS [turns sandglass over and the sand begins to trickle through]

All right, everybody, we're back. We're sitting here in the open-air theatre in Delphi with Xena: Warrior Princess.

[audience is still cheering]

GELASIUS

Ahhh, again, uh, Xena, thank you so much for ah, for coming on the show.

XENA

Good to be here.

GELASIUS

May I just say? That armour is stunning! Not everyone could get away with wearing it but... You certainly keep yourself very... fit! [flushes]

XENA [looks amused]

Thanks.

GELASIUS

Er... erhm! Right. [checks interview notes] Itís not often we get to talk to one of the great military leaders of the age. [XENA inclines her head and smiles] For those unfamiliar with your work, Xena, let's roll the clip of you in action. Here it comes.

[Video: XENA is on horseback at the head of her army, charging down a hill, sword drawn, and screaming her battlecry.]

[audience applauds]

GELASIUS

Great stuff! So, first off, Xena... Why 'Warrior Princess'?

XENA

Why not?

GELASIUS

Well, 'princess' implies Royalty... someone gentle and demure, and needing protection from her prince!

XENA [grimaces]

I can look after myself, thanks very much! As for Royalty... My mother owns a tavern.

[audience laughs]

GELASIUS

My point exactly. So... why that title?

XENA [shrugs]

Someone called me that once. The name kinda stuck. Hey, it could be worse!

GELASIUS

Indeed. So... [checks notes] When did you first get into being a warrior?

XENA

When I was 16. My village was being attacked by a warlord. Couldnít let him get away with that, could I?

GELASIUS

And how did your family take to your er... new occupation?

XENA

To be honest... my mother wasn't exactly thrilled.

GELASIUS

She wanted you to help in the tavern?

XENA

Something like that.

GELASIUS

So, you worked your way up through the ranks?

XENA

Yup. Didn't take me long to get my own navy--well, it was just the one ship, really-- and not long after that, I got my own army. Dead men's shoes, of course.

GELASIUS

Of course. Have you ever had problems because of your gender? You know... a woman-giving-orders-to-men kind of thing?

XENA

Not really. My men and I have an... understanding. If they disobey me, I cut their balls off.

[audience gasps]

GELASIUS [croaks]

Really?

XENA [grins]

That or I fight them, one on one.

GELASIUS

Er... erhm... But, in single combat, you always win.

XENA

Yup. Gets a bit boring actually. I'd like a bit more of a challenge. [turns to face camera] Hey, Hercules, if you're out there. How about it, Big Boy?

GELASIUS

But he's a demigod!

XENA

So what?... Keep Greece for us mortals, I say.... Anyway, as I was saying... disobedience is not a big problem these days. My warriors respect me, and my second-in-command Darphus is as loyal as they come.

GELASIUS

So. What about the flipside, Xena? Any advantages because of your gender?

XENA [smiles]

Some. You'd be amazed how many people underestimate me simply because I'm a woman. It gives me a certain... advantage, which Iíd be foolish to pass up.

GELASIUS

So you admit you use sex as a weapon?

XENA

I have been known to seal an alliance that way, Gelasius... but only if the guy (or girl) is good looking. [grins unrepentantly]

[audience laughs]

GELASIUS

Fighting battles isn't the usual occupation for a woman.

XENA [shrugs]

It gets my juices flowing.

GELASIUS

You like killing people?

XENA

If they're unreasonable, yes. All I require is provisions and quarter for my army. If they refuse to see my point of view then... [shrugs] But let me stress: I never kill women or children. Never.

GELASIUS

Commendable. And after the battle is over... what then?

XENA [teases]

Come on, Gelasius... what are you really trying to ask me? How do I deal with my battle lust?

[audience cheers]

GELASIUS [nods]

Guess I am, yes.

XENA

I get rid of it... None of your beeswax how, though!

[audience laughs]

GELASIUS

Moving on... [smiles] Xena, I hear you have a pretty neat method of interrogating your prisoners.

XENA

You do?

GELASIUS [consults notes]

'The Pinch', I believe you call it?

XENA [laughs]

Oh, that.

GELASIUS

I'm sure the audience would love to see 'the Pinch' in action.

XENA [stands up]

Sure. No problem. [looms mock-menacingly over Gelasius, fingers at the ready]

[audience whistles encouragement]

GELASIUS [raises hands defensively]

No! No!... Not me! Er... erhm... I meant we have a clip of you doing 'the Pinch'.

XENA

Well, why didn't you say so? [resumes her seat]

GELASIUS [runs finger round inside of collar then turns to assistant]

Roll the clip.

[Video: XENA is interrogating a muscular warrior in studded, brown leather. She jabs her fingers into his neck, and instantly he goes rigid, neck veins prominent, eyes bulging, nose bleeding.

XENA

I have cut off the flow of blood to your brain. You have 30 seconds to tell me...]

[audience applauds and Xena acknowledges with a smile]

GELASIUS

Very cool! [glances at notes] So, uh... Is there a Mr. Xena?

XENA

Are you kidding? I have a very short attention span.

[audience laughs]

GELASIUS

So you have no immediate plans to get married and have children?

XENA

What do I need with children? I have my work cut out looking after my men.

GELASIUS

Your army are like children?!

XENA

In many ways, yes. They donít need diapering as often though.

[audience laughs]

GELASIUS

But seriously. You have no plans to settle down?

XENA

Why in Tartarus would I want to? Can you imagine me, married to a smelly farmer, raising his brats in some armpit of a village... Potedeia, say...?

[audience emits catcalls]

XENA [grins]

I didn't think so. No, I like to travel, and I love being in charge. [shrugs] The only way I'm leaving my army is feet first.

GELASIUS

That answers that question. [smiles and looks at notes] It must be difficult to keep your warriors from getting bored between battles.

XENA

Got that right! You just can't find a good storytelling bard when you need one, or a funny comic, come to that. [turns to face audience] If you know anyone suitable - let me know after the show, OK? [turns back to Gelasius] Mostly, my men keep themselves occupied with beer, brothels, brawls, and betting... Oh, and we have the occasional singsong.

GELASIUS [blinks]

You can sing?

XENA

For my own enjoyment, yes. I also do a great funeral dirge.

GELASIUS

Uh... [checks sandglass as last grain trickles through] Oh, I see our time has run out. We'll have to end it there, Xena, I'm afraid.

[audience make disappointed noises]

XENA [smiles]

No problem. I see Darphus is hovering about at the back there... Looks like I have to go anyway. We're starting our Parthian Province campaign in the morning.

GELASIUS

Oh. Then I hope you have a good day fighting.

XENA

Thanks. I'm sure I will.

GELASIUS

Uh, Xena: Warrior Princess, we--we can't thank you enough for coming on the show tonight. A real pleasure. You must come back soon.... Xena: Warrior Princess, everybody.

[audience cheers]

----