Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards
Series: Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Season: One
Story Number: 013
Writer: R.J. Stewart
Steven L. Sears
Director: Jace Alexander
Broadcast: January 22, 1996
Previous Story: Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts
Following Story: A Fistful of Dinars

Synopsis Edit

his episode opens with Gabrielle telling the story from "The Reckoning" in a tavern. When she finishes she is approached by a young man who compliments her storytelling and asks who trained her to be a bard. She tells him no one, so he suggests that she come to Athens where the Academy of Performing Bards is holding tryouts. The top four competitors will be enrolled in this prestigious Academy. Gabrielle doesn't get the chance to answer because the boy's father comes over and insults her ability, saying she'd never make it at the Academy. His disparaging remarks backfire, and Gabrielle tells Xena that she wants to give it a try. Xena says that she will miss her as she's become like a sister to her, but that she should go after her dream.

Gabrielle meets up with the young man at the registration point. He shows her their competitors, including the long-winded Euripides and the action oriented Stallonus. Gabrielle realizes that she doesn't yet know her new friend's name and asks him to tell her. He says he doesn't like his name and intends to pick a new, heroic one- how about Draco? She says no- Draco is a villain. She tells him the story from "Sins of the Past" and when she finishes she is surrounded by admiring fans of her storytelling. Gabrielle thanks them and then suggests the name Orion to her friend. He likes it, and decides to keep it.

They go to register and the registrar tells her that she can't find Gabrielle's name on her list. Gabrielle uses a clever diversion to slip some forged papers into the registrar's stack. She is suspicious, but admits the young bard.

They all go to the first lecture where Gabrielle spots a man acting strangely. Her instincts, honed by Xena's teaching tell her that he is trouble. Her feelings seem to be confirmed when the man rushes to lecturer and stabs him before escaping. But when Gabrielle checks the downed man he reveals that it was a fake- he was making a point that events can happen at any time and they need to know how to turn an event into a story. Gabrielle interrupts him and says that what just happened wasn't an event- it was a cheat. There was no moral to be found in his faking his death. She illustrates her point by telling the story from "Death in Chains" and the lecturer is flabbergasted while her fellow students are enthralled.

Later Gabrielle and her new friends get together and discuss storytelling. Stallonus is all action with very little else, and Euripides is about style over substance. He tells a story about Xena's seduction of Iolaus from "The Warrior Princess", and Stallonus gives an action packed rendition of Xena's fighting, but Gabrielle counters with the tale of Xena's redemption from "The Gauntlet". They are all convinced, but Gabrielle asks for some time alone, missing Xena.

The next morning Gabrielle and Orion talk about his storytelling- he used to close his eyes and visualize his stories but his father told him not to do that anymore. Unfortunately his storytelling has suffered by the change.

It is discovered that Gabrielle cheated to get in and is thrown out of the competition. This is the doing of Orion's father Polonius- he revealed that she hadn't known about the competition until they met her on the road. Orion apologizes for his father's meddling and Gabrielle says she is getting used to goodbyes, telling the story of her meeting with Iolaus from "Prometheus". The boys put their heads together and come up with a plan to get her back in- she just has to come to the next morning's competition, and she agrees. The next morning when the stuttering aspiring bard Twickenham is told to perform he refuses, saying that none of them will be competing unless Gabrielle is allowed to rejoin them. The head judge Gustacius intervenes and she is reinstated. She tells the story of hr unexpected adventure from "Cradle of Hope" and she leaves the audience in tears.

Orion takes his turn and tells the story of Atlas. His friends congratulate him but his father tells him it was terrible and demands he start over from the top. Orion sarcastically obeys and when his father pushes him too far he runs away. Later Polonius tells Gabrielle that she got her wish- Orion has left the competition. She goes after him and convinces him to come back and do it his way in spite of his father. She says that it was only his father's misguided love that made him act that way.

Orion returns and warns his father not to interfere. Gabrielle tells the story of her adventures with Xena, much to the delight of her audience. Then it is Orion's turn, and he closes his eyes and tells the story of Spartacus. The story is a great success.

After the competition is over Orion tells Gabrielle that he wishes that she was staying, but she tells him that it wasn't meant to be. She's glad that he, Euripides and Twickenham made it in. Before she leaves she asks him what his real name is in case he gets famous- he says it's Homer, but Gustacius wants to call him "The Blind Bard" since he closes his eyes.

Gabrielle meets back up with Xena who asks who won the contest. Gabrielle tells her that she did, and when Xena asks why she isn't at the Academy Gabrielle says that while they will be telling adventures she will be living them. A band of brigands confronts them and Gabrielle says that "this will make a great story".

Memorable quotes Edit

Gabrielle: This is gonna make a great story.

Cast Edit

  • Lucy Lawless as Xena
  • Renée O'Connor as Gabrielle
  • Dean O'Gorman as Orion
  • Grahame Moore as Polonius
  • Patrick Brunton as Stallonus
  • Lori Dungey as Kellos
  • Alan De Malmanche as Docenius
  • Joseph Manning as Euripedes
  • Bernard Moody as Drunk
  • Andrew Thurtell as Twickenham
  • David Weatherley as Gastacius

Background information and notes Edit

  • The playwright Euripides was the most successful and innovative of his time. He lived in Athens during its height under Pericles and was accused by contemporaries of corrupting people with his portrayals of standard characters with a ruthless, immoral twist, particularly the females. He is best know for the plays "The Bacchae", "Clytemnestra", and "Medea".
  • Homer, the most famous poet of ancient Greece, told the stories of the siege of Troy in the Iliad and the journey home from Troy of Odysseus (Ulysses) in the Odyssey. He was known as "the blind bard" because he was said to be sightless (though in this episode, they claim that it is because he told stories with his eyes shut).

Continuity and mistakes Edit

  • Bards were poets and scholars in Celtic/Gaelic societies (chiefly Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall). Professional reciters/performers of poetry in ancient Greece were called "rhapsodes"
  • When Stallonus falls off his bunk, he can clearly be seen landing on a stunt mat.

Disclaimer Edit

  • The producers would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas and all those who were involved with the making of the film classic 'SPARTACUS.' Additional thanks to Steve Reeves.