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Lucy Lawless only appears at the beginning and end of this episode.
Nitpick: If the scroll Gabrielle lost was all about her and Xena's travels in India, why were Julius Caesar, Callisto, Ares and a minotaur supporting characters in the story?
Joxer: Well, well, well, well. Aren't you all ashamed of yourselves? Gabrielle put her heart and soul into this play and as a producer I'm ashamed for all of you. But as a producer, I have a few little changes to make.
Xena: Go on, make us both happy.
Gabrielle: Thank you.
Xena: Don't mention it.
Gabrielle: OK. (Gabrielle walks away)
Xena: Well, when I say 'Don't mention it', I mean, you could mention it. It's just a figure of speech. Don't have to take it literally. Wouldn't kill you to maybe look back or something.
Minya: Gabrielle, I wanted to thank you. I wouldn't have met Paulina if it wasn't for you. In fact, the two of you have made me realize something deep down about myself I guess I always knew but didn't dare admit. Yes, I'm a -- thespian. (runs off with Paulina)
Gabrielle: That is what she said, right? Deep down she's a thespian?
Xena: Yeah, yeah, that's what she said. Why, what did you think she said?
Gabrielle: You're hired. I don't care what I have to do. You'll be in the script, I promise.
Dustinus Hoofmanus: Thank you. Oh, by the way -- I do not play quadrupeds. Make sure the role reflects that.
Dustinus Hoofmanus: I do not play four-legged creatures.
Gabrielle: But you're a centaur.
Dustinus Hoofmanus: I am an actor! I refuse to limit myself.
Song: Listen, now, and you will hear the action packed tale of Xena. Xena! Xena! Xena, Warrior Princess. Wooooooh!
Gabrielle: We're gonna need more blood. I want more skin. I want action. I want weapons. I want battlefields with beaten, bloodied bodies. We're gonna take this little flower and we're gonna cram it down their throats for their own good.
Minya: What, this bag of bones? She couldn't shoe a mule, let alone bust heads!
Paulia: I can too shoo a mule! Shoo!
Minya: Ay yi yi yi yi yi! Hee-yah! Ay-yah! Never fear, Xena is here!
Actress:(auditioning for the part of Gabrielle) But Xena, you followed the violent approach in the past, and what has come of it but more violence?!
Gabrielle: Thank you. Next!
Joxer: Hi, Gabrielle, wow! Uh, your hair. Did that hurt? Uh, what's that you're wearing?
Joxer: Don't apologize. It looks good.
Xena: Well, peace might be boring, but it's all anybody really wants.
Gabrielle: Xena, it was one of my favorite scrolls, a new one charting our history through the prism of time, a--
Xena: More intimate examination of our relationship and on and on.
Peter Muller, who plays Dustinus Hoofmanus, got to be pretty used to playing a Centaur. He played Deric on Hercules, Dustinus, and an unnamed Centaur in the teaser of the sixth season episode "Last of the Centaurs". While playing Deric he was also married to a character played by Lucy Lawless, Lyla.
When Joxer is hanging upside-down at the end of the episode, he shouts out that he's going to tell his brother (Jett, most likely). As he says this, the executive producer credits (with Sam Raimi, Ted's brother) come up.
Polly Baigent, who plays Xena in Gabrielle's play, 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.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand (who's married to actor Michael Hurst, of Hercules fame) has been previously seen on XWP as Boadicea in "The Deliverer". She also appeared in the HTLJ ep "All That Glitters" as Voluptua.
DISCLAIMER: Although no great literary works of art were harmed or plagiarised, a few thespians stole some scenes during the production of this motion picture.
A number of plays are advertised at the beginning of the episode. The signs are translated to read:
ATHENS ACADEMY THEATER
"THE WOMEN OF TRACHIS"
Direct from Rome!
"A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE ACROPOLIS"
BY-THE-GODS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
30th Smash Week!
A Divine Comedy.
Laugh Or Be Smitten!
"Athens Academy Theater" may refer to the first season episode "Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards". The Women of Trachis is an actual play by Sophocles; its subject is the death of Heracles (Hercules) and contains no scenes of sex or violence, let alone hordes of leggy chorines -- which themselves are an allusion to the Ziegfeld Follies, its direct competitors, the Scandals and the Vanities, and the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall.
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Acropolis" refers to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), a musical by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. It was later made into a movie (1966); both versions starred Zero Mostel (c.f. "Zehra"). The story is set in Rome and is based on the bawdy comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus.
"Oh, Zeus!" refers to Oh, God!, a 1977 movie starring George Burns in the title role. The "Apollo" Theater in the episode refers to the famous Apollo in Harlem (New York City).
Gabrielle complains about sex and violence in the theater, a reference to such complaints made about television. Greek comedies and satyr plays were extremely bawdy and contained many sexual references and early bathroom "humor." Actors in satyr plays are depicted as wearing large phalluses. Violence usually occurred off stage, especially in the tragedies. Battle scenes and murders were never depicted, only described.
The title of the episode is taken from Hamlet: "...the play's the thing/Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." Both this episode and Hamlet include a play within the play, written by one of the principals (Gabrielle and Hamlet, respectively). Cleon refers to the historical Cleon (c.475-422), the Athenian demagogue who succeeded his enemy Pericles during the Peloponnesian War. He defeated the Spartans at Sphacteria in 425 but was killed in battle against them at Amphipolis. He was mercilessly lampooned twice by Aristophanes (The Knights survives in print) and comes off badly in Thucydides's history. Dustinus Hoofmanus is a play on Dustin Hoffman, of course. Rivus is a play on Keanu Reeves. Kaelus refers to Kahless the Conqueror, the most famous Klingon warlord in Star Trek. Paulina is a play on Polly Baigent's given name.
Gabrielle: "Springtime for Warlords" (possible title of the play); when she rewrites it for more violence, the play is temporarily renamed "Faster Chakram! Kill! Kill! Kill!", a reference to the 1965 movie Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! The plot of this episode is taken from the 1968 Mel Brooks movie The Producers, in which the title characters produce a supposed flop called "Springtime for Hitler". Zehra, the villainess of the piece, is named for Zero Mostel, who starred in the original movie. The idea of warlords financing the production comes from the Woody Allen movie Bullets Over Broadway, in which gangsters are the "angels."
Critic: There's the opening of Buffus the Bacchai Slayer across the street.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American show which is famously known throughout the world. The main character called Buffy, slays vampires and vanquishes other worldy demons. Like Xena they are both warriors.
Gabrielle: Piraeus is the great Appian Way.
Gabby's line "Piraeus is the great Appian Way" was a reference to NYC's Broadway, the Great White Way. Originally it was the "Great White Appian Way" in the script, but it got shortened.
Piraeus is actually the port of Athens, so it could be supposed that these are actually "off-Athens" ("off-Broadway") plays. There are no references in the episode to the port.
The Appian Way (Via Appia) is the most famous of all Roman roads, and parts are still in use. It ran from Rome to Brindisi.
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