GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM
Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite)
Renee O'Connor (Sappho/Hermia/Helena)
Lucy Lawless (Morai/Lysia/Demetrius)
Written by Robert Tapert and Melissa Good
Teleplay by Melissa Good
Directed by Mark Beesley [Assigned]
This synopsis is by Sword and Quill.
First off, the cast.
Lucy Lawless: Xena/Morai
Renee O'Connor: Gabrielle/Sappho
Alex Tydings: The Mighty Aphrodite
Other uncasted speaking roles are for:
Senhel (Aphrodite's Son)
Avain (the woman who loves Senhel).
Sometime during her life as a mortal, Aphrodite "stole" Sappho from the Muses because she wrote, like, such kickin' love poetry. The Muses got back at Aphrodite for the "kidnapping" by casting a spell on Aphrodite's son. The spell was one of celibacy, which, of course, is a major bummer for Aphrodite. Aphrodite decides to get her son "un-celibate" by getting him to go to Lesbos to groove on some Sappho love poetry.
The problem is that Sappho (Renee) has "lost the muse". She and her partner (in *every* sense) Morai (Lucy) have been fighting a great deal. Having creative differences, in other words. Sappho hasn't been giving Morai enough credit in the partnership, and in the end, Morai (a meek woman) leaves, during the time that they're getting ready to put on a play called "Love Bites".
Aphrodite, seeing her plans for her son going seriously awry, goes to two people she hopes will help her. Xena and Gabrielle. She breaks in on a jam session with Xena and Gabrielle. Gabrielle is trying to write a song, and Xena keeps on putting her two cents in. Gabrielle finally asks Xena to just shut up and sing it already. And we hear the first lines of Last Dance.
Aphrodite "pops in", interrupting them. She then asks them if they'd fill in briefly for Sappho and Morai while she goes after the two to try and get them back together. After a few moments, Xena and Gabrielle agree to Aphrodite's scheme, and travel to Lesbos.
They get there, and of course, everyone mistakes Gabrielle for Sappho, and ignore Xena (masquerading as the meek and mild
Morai). The play is down to the last moments, almost ready to be put on, but the ending isn't even done. Xena and Gabrielle need to stall until Aphrodite can get the real Sappho and Morai back so that they can finish the play that she hopes will break her son's celibate spell.
Mistaken identity hijinx ensue, with Gabrielle loving the accolades and Xena getting more and more pissed off because people are treating her like a somewhat brain damaged dog. Xena and Gabrielle get into a small (minor) tiff because Xena is upset, but eventually things get back to "normal".
Meanwhile Sappho and Morai have taken a canoe/camping trip into nature in order to work out the kinks and get the muse back so they can finish the play. Unfortunately, that flops, as does the canoe, so Sappho and Morai wind up back at Sappho's home, where they run into, literally, Xena and Gabrielle. However, it's kinda funny the way it happens.
See, Xena, walks into Sappho's boudoir thinking Sappho is Gabrielle. Sappho is instantly entranced by Xena's bearing, and *especially* her leather. Xena is a bit taken aback by Gabrielle's forwardness, especially since they've just had another small arguement and Xena left the party.
Meanwhile, the REAL Gabrielle is in another room when Morai comes in (thinking it's Sappho) and wanting to make up with her partner. She takes off Gabrielle's boots and offers to read her some poetry before they go to bed. Poetry? Gabrielle wants to know where Xena (who she thinks Morai is) got the henbane and how much did she take?
Both sets of doubles eventually find out that they're not who the other thinks they are, and all four collide in the hallway outside the bedroom. After the surprised introductions are over, Sappho offers to have Xena (who she REALLY likes) and Gabrielle to share the bed with she and Morai. Gabrielle declines and Xena and Gabrielle go into Sappho's workroom, where they settle down for some "pillow talk". (In the script, and yes, they're sharing a bed).
They each talk about how they knew the double wasn't who they thought they were after a short time and then go to sleep. Xena wants to leave, figuring that with Sappho and Morai back, their mission is done, but Aphrodite convinces them to stay on a bit longer. Which is a good thing, because Sappho and Morai argue again and Morai runs away.
The play is ready to go on with Senhel and Avian in attendance, but without Morai (who is playing several parts), what can be done? In steps Xena to fill Morai's spot while Gabrielle runs off to find the runaway poet and to convince her to return to Sappho's side.
Then the Donkey Show part of this ensues, with all the disco tunes you heard about. It's as confusing as the real Donkey Show is, and I really can't do it justice, but basically it's about three couples (each played by Lucy and Renee) some who love each other, some who want one but the other doesn't want them back.
Aphrodite thinks this play, sampling the "many flavors of looooove" is just the ticket to get Senhel to see the error of his ways. They start out, but at first, Sappho is upset because while she *really* likes Xena, the reverse isn't true. Xena's not interested, and Sappho thinks she's falling down on the convincing job (to the audience).
They go along in the play and Aphrodite pops in again, and sees that her son is completely unmoved. Morai (who really DOES love Sappho) still isn't back yet, so Aphrodite pleads with Xena to "please, just fake it" with Sappho so that Senhel will get the picture. Faced with the alternative (failure) Xena decides to "fake it" and starts becoming more steamy with Sappho during the songs such as "Love to Love You Baby", "Knock on Wood", "Don't Leave Me This Way" and the like.
Gabrielle, meanwhile, has convinced Morai to give Sappho one more try, and brings her back to the playhouse just in time to see Xena pin Sappho to a set piece on stage and kiss the living daylights out of her. Morai is upset. Gabrielle is kinda upset. Senhel is falling asleep (because, obviously, what's going on up on stage is not love, just lust).
Morai begins to sing "I Will Survive" to Sappho and then leaves. Gabrielle leaves with her. The audience begins to leave.
"WAIT!" shouts Xena, and tosses her chakram to close the doors to keep the audience from leaving. Then she begins to sing, to Gabrielle, the song they wrote together. Which, of course, is Last Dance. As she hears it, Gabrielle stops. Then turns. Then, as Xena continues to sing, she begins to approach Xena until they wind up holding hands and looking into each other's eyes.
Then, as the song fades, they hug. Then they look over at Senhel, who is STILL unmoved. So then, and this is from the script:"Xena and Gabrielle kiss with deep and sincere passion."Everyone stares, entranced.
When they finally come up for air, Senhel is on the floor, the spell broken because he has finally seen true love. As the song begins again, Avain kisses Senhel, Morai kisses Sappho, and everyone is happy again.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
02-26-01. I forgot whether I already mentioned it, but I will err on saying it again...the Sappho disco musical extravaganza has been dumped! Yup, LAST CHANCE is no more. Legal snafus and the like have deep-sixed this project. It will be replaced by a Joxer comedy, possibly a re-re-re-worked TOPPER.
02-26-01. 02/03/01, Renee O'Connor interview at Upbeat Magazine by Bridget Petrella with additional editing by Sonia Satra. Title: 'Xena' Star Renee O'Connor: Deeply Soulful And Subtly Engaging. Check it out at http://www.2upbeatmag.com/TUBE-FILE/tube_file_renee-oconnor-feature-intervie w.html. Here's some selections:UPBEAT: How would you, Renee O'Connor, end the series? I mean, if we gave you an unlimited budget and made you the executive producer, what direction would you go in?
Renee O'Connor: "(laughs) I'd probably do back to back musicals."
UPBEAT: I think I'd make it into a cooking show.
Renee O'Connor: " (laughs) Yes, Gabrielle cooks squid."
UPBEAT: Cooking with weapons_ (laughs) so you'd prefer to end the show on a musical note?
Renee O'Connor "(laughs) I don't know actually, I'm just being silly (laughs). It's still so hard for me to believe that the show's really ending. I can't quite grasp that. I'd probably make it a musical just so that we could have a good time because it's going to be so sad. Maybe then we could try to find some levity in it."
02-06-01. This episode now is known as LAST CHANCE.
12-30-00. Apparently the musical aka Sappho aka whatever you want to call it is still going on and is still being worked on. Of course, things are in such an uproar that what is true today may not necessarily be true tomorrow. There was about a 24 hour period when the musical was put on the backburner again, but the idea survived to be re-invented. The compromises might mean a non-double part for either Renee O'Connor or Lucy Lawless.
12-18-00. This episode homages not only Shakespeare's MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, but also another homage of the same Shakespeare play that is on stage in New York City.
11-14-00. IT LIVES!!! The old Sappho episode has been resurrected and is being worked as a contemporary musical (like LYRE LYRE, not BITTER SUITE). BUT its fate is not etched in stone. It still might bite the dust again. TPTB are mulling it over in their heads...to Sappho or not to Sappho, that is the question! So, we have drug this old file out of the moth balls. Stay tuned for more SAPPHO news!
11-07-00. The mysterious production schedule episode #20 which was known as only "musical" for a while now appears to be the Sappho episode revived and reworked to be a musical like LYRE LYRE where previously recorded contemporary songs will be used in the story (not original music like BITTE SUITE). And what a story. Yup, Sappho returns. First Sappho appeared as a part of the multiple Lucy Lawless roles arc that started with WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115) and followed by WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206) and WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP (55/309). Then that was tossed on the heap of old ideas and then it was revived again as a musical, but THAT incarnation became LYRE LYRE. But now, in the last year of its existence, XENA is ready to produce the long awaited Sappho episode, but the buzz is that the actress playing double duty will not be Lucy Lawless.
06-17-00. Ariel Penn asked R.J. Stewart a whole slew of questions at the "Feminism and Classics Conference" at the University of Southern California on Friday, May 19, 2000. The entire article can be found at http://extra.newsguy.com/features/heroines/051500.htm.Penn reported that Stewart said that the legendary Sappho episode evolved into the musical episode LYRE LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE. He wrote: "Someone asked if they would ever do that Sappho episode. He said he had been separated from the show for a while working on Cleopatra 2525 and heard that this concept evolved into doing the Sappho story as a musical which then evolved? into "Lyre, Lyre." So those of you who want that Sappho episode... imagine Sappho doing a toga dance to "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves" and participating as a co-matchmaker with Xena's mommy. Doesn't that make you happy? I thought so."
01-12-99. On 01-06-99, the Toronto Sun reported, "Out lesbian K.D. Lang has reportedly agreed to do a guest spot on Xena: Warrior Princess, the series about sort-of-out sword-wielding girlfriends. Maybe she'll be the one to open the closet door on that show once and for all ..." Of course this could just be old rumors recirculating. The Sun is not known for being too careful in what it publishes.
12-21-98. In late May 1998, a source not in Renaissance Films, but an outside source who had recent contact with Renaissance Films, told Laura Sue Dean (WHOOSH's News Gossip Rumors columnist) that a "producer" had told her that RenPic had decided NOT to film the Sappho episode after all. Reason being that they couldn't figure out a good way to do it and still keep the SUBTEXT sub....only MAIN.. and they are adamant about keeping it SUB... so, the project has been shelved. At least for now.
12-21-98. In the May 1998 edition of CURVE Magazine, it was stated that k.d. had asked to do a cameo appearance on an upcoming episode of XENA. "It's uncertain whom she'll play, but unfortunately, it won't be Sappho. The episode featuring the ancient Greek babe who started it all has already been filmed. According to Xena star Lucy Lawless, Sappho acquires a constant craving for Gabrielle, who "doesn't quite know how to handle it".
12-21-98. In April of 1998, it was being reported that K.D Lang would make the cameo appearance in "Warrior...Poetess...Tramp", but she would not play Sappho. Seems Lawless will play the Sappho role as originally planned and still apparently has a " hankering" for Gabrielle.
12-21-98. At the Creation Boston Con (03-22-98), Brad carpenter reported that they were shifting season 4's "Warrior...Poetess...Tramp" away from a Xena lookalike show. A well-known musician has expressed interest in being on the show and they seem to be adapting this episode for her. Brad wouldn't even hint at who the person was ("I cant say, I'd be killed!") but they are hoping, it seems, to release a pop single from the show. They want to take the pop culture tie in a step higher.
12-21-98. At a Digital Worlds AoL Chat (02/12/98) with Steven Sears in attendence:
Trellopa: Tyldus--are you writing the Sappho ep?
Tyldus: Trellopa: No, we have that one on the backburner. It won't be one of the first out of the gate for next season. But I know what will..... :)
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
12-18-00. From Sally Dye.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (the Shakespeare version)
It takes place near Athens -- appropriate for a Xena ep, hm? -- and involves mainly four characters: Hermia, who is supposed to marry Demetrius but really loves Lysander; Demetrius, who is really in love with Hermia's friend, Helena; Helena, who loves Demetrius as well; and Lysander, who is trying to arrange an elopement with Hermia. They all go into the woods, which is a favorite haunt of Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies. Oberon and Titania have quarreled and Oberon gets Puck, a sprite, to get a certain magic flower so he can use it to make Titania fall in love with the first thing she sees. The juice from the magic flower gets used on lots of different people, though. Puck puts it on Lysander, who sees Helena and starts to woo her. Demetrius and Lysander then fight over Helena, and Helena and Hermia fight because Hermia thinks Helena is stealing Lysander from her. Titania gets some of it, too, and falls in love with a bumbling weaver named Bottom, who has been made to have a donkey's head by Puck. Finally Oberon and Puck throw a fog over everyone and release them all from the spell. There's a cute side plot that has to do with Bottom and his friends presenting a play, "Pyramus and Thisbe" at the Duke of Athens' wedding to Hippolyta.