Together on the Stage for the First Time (01-04)
We Listened and Learned (05-06)
Together on the Stage for the First Time
(photo by Heather Perkins)
 Four thousand Xena fans held their breath as the moment of The Appearance had arrived. It was impossible to overestimate the meaning of this Appearance. "Together on stage for the first time" -- every person in the room felt the gravity and the historic significance of it. The women in my row agreed we were all nervous, our hands, legs, and feet shaking from sheer excitement. After what we had experienced the two days prior, with Hudson Leick devouring the stage and all of us fans, then Claire Stansfield and Alexandra Tydings lighting us on fire with their kiss just the night before, the place was rocking. Now The Moment had come. THEY would be APPEARING.
 So when Renee O'Connor came out, we shouted, we umped, we stood on chairs, screaming, hooting, and clapping. She was there! She was THERE. And started singing? Huh? Renee the lip-synch expert? But there she went, and we clapped some more, and hooted wildly, and then another voice joined in the background, then in the foreground, then on stage, and it was LucyitwasLucyitwasLUCY! She was THERE, in front of us. No amount of cheering, clapping, whistling, praising was good enough. Oh, my heart wanted to jump right out and dance!!! Everyone screamed and shouted, clapped and swelled at the sight of them. THERE THEY ARE.
 Then just like that, it changed. Sharon from Creation began asking them THE MOST MUNDANE questions (how can you ask such basic questions to those luminaries??? Sharon, for crying out loud, ask them something INTERESTING!) and we calmed ourselves a bit. Slowly, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor took the stage for themselves, as themselves. Four thousand sets of expectations quietly scooted aside as Lucy and Renee talked about their experience of the show and of each other. We saw them interact as friends and colleagues, got to see Renee's goofiness that is not present in the modern day Gabrielle, and got to see Lucy's thoughtfulness.
 Rather than the fan-pleasing pandering that Hudson Leick, Alexandra Tydings, Claire Stansfield, and nearly every other actor did with their time on stage, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor answered the questions. They shared with us their innocence of stage antics, crowd pleasing, and hard-edged Hollywood posing. We began to witness the core truth about Xena: Warrior Princess: the two stars love and respect each other.
We Listened and Learned
(photo by Marilyn Cristiano)
 Though their low key, honest, and genuine demeanors were in sharp contrast to the others on stage before them, we adjusted. We listened. We learned. We saw the magic right there in front of us. They gave us a gift of themselves, not an image. They showed us they took the show seriously. They supported each other for six seasons as partners and professionals. My expectations did not include getting TO KNOW them, but there they stood, thinking through their next answers and concluding, "yes, the show was about love from beginning to end". Not sex, as so many of us were fixated on for so long. Love, transcendent love. After the raucous, salacious previous appearances, that approach refreshed us, reminded us why we hung by our sets to see the show every week.
 Let us remember that when Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor came to town, they brought us part of the heavenly stuff that made the two of them magnetic on screen. It was real. They have built something deep together. We recognized it. Their appearance honored the best in us, much to our surprise.
Jennifer lives in Denver with her partner of 11 years, two cats and a Miniature Pinscher. She works for a solar energy research lab and enjoys running, swimming, golf, and playing the clarinet. She discovered Xena from USA Network reruns. She discovered the Xenaverse soon after. Her latest goal is to finish ONE fan fiction story.
Favorite episode: ONE AGAINST AN ARMY
Favorite line: Xena: "Close your eyes, Gabrielle." MANY HAPPY RETURNS
First episode seen: ALTARED STATES
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS