Whoosh! Issue 73 - October/November 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF ALEXANDRA BILLINGS
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! Edition © 2002 held by WHOOSH
2554 words


Introduction (01-03)
Alexandra's Head (04-99)
Alexandra's Resume
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF ALEXANDRA BILLINGS







Introduction



Secretly digs The Bee Gees.

Alexandra Billings


[01] I adore this woman, and after reading this, you will too. She is a survivor. She is beyond talented, and what a sense of humor! She is another person of whom I can say I was glad to meet in person. I can also say with all my heart that she is one of many people who add value to this planet. If you can entertain, or make someone leave their dreary lives for a short time, or make someone laugh, that is a true gift.

[02] She played the dark Xena in Xena Live Episode One, while in episode two she played Androgeny. She took over the role from Scott Duff, and boy, did she take over. She can do impersonations of celebrities and leave you in tears. She did a commercial during the live show of Katherine Hepburn that was only to last a few minutes but she had the crowd rolling. The laughter lasted for over thirteen minutes. Afterwards my chest hurt so bad from all the laughing.

[03] Alex keeps her fellow cast members, as well as the audience, on their toes because you never know what she will blurt out. A couple of times she got fellow actors to chuckle on stage. No other way to say this, you will just adore this gracious soul.



Alexandra's Head


Interviewer:
[04] Who is Alexandra?

Billings:
[05] A well baked ham who got lucky in show biz and surrounds herself with really talented 20 year olds.

Interviewer:
[06] Why did you start acting?

Billings:
[07] My Father was the Musical Director at the Civic Light Opera House in California and I've been around music and theatre since I can remember. I was also the youngest in the family and needed attention desperately.

Interviewer:
[08] Do you enjoy singing more then acting?

Billings:
[09] Singing is the hardest thing in the world to do, besides baking. I really like to consider myself an actor first, because quite frankly, if heard my own voice on a record, I'd run screaming from the room. That's just me though.

Interviewer:
[10] If you had to do it all over, would you be an actor?

Billings:
[11] Yes. Oh yes.

Interviewer:
[12] Give us a brief day in the life of Alexandra.

Billings:
[13] I'm up at the crack of noon. Then it's off to the fish tank where I feed Kertz and Chan, who pretend to hide behind a rock so I can't see them. I hobble up the stairs to where my spousal equivalent is busy reading or researching new jobs. Into the kitchen I go pouring Cocoa Pebbles into the largest bowl we have, kicking my wife off the computer and getting on line to answer the porno e-mail we receive by the bushel. Well, it's now about 2pm and I either have a rehearsal, 950,000 phone calls to return (usually from the month before) or I've got scripts to read. In between all this there's time for a little I Love Lucy break and a chance to surf the cable to see where the h-ll they stuck Lawless. All in all, I have a rich and full life. Much like Madonna.

Interviewer:
[14] Do you also write?

Billings:
[15] I'm just now sending out some original plays. Funny you should ask.

Interviewer:
[16] How do you handle stress/depression?

Billings:
[17] I pray. Then I talk to Chrisanne. Then I see my shrink. Then I go to a meeting. If all that doesn't work, I read the new Daniel Steele novel. That always makes me laugh.

Interviewer:
[18] In general, do you think fans expect too much from actors?

Billings:
[19] If they expect me to perform when I'm not on stage ... yes, I do.

Interviewer:
[20] Do fans matter?

Billings:
[21] "Fans are life and death to me, Baby! They're the ones who really MADE me!" Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Without fans, we don't have a career. You can only perform for your family for so long.

Wondering if wardrobe is going to use all those extra hangers.

Joan Crawford, forever remembered on Mother's Day


Interviewer:
[22] If God granted you the ability to cure one disease, what would it be and why?

Billings:
[23] Ignorance. Ignorance leads to prejudice, racism, which stems from hate and stupidity. Soon we're off on a tangent that leads to superiority and righteousness. Then there are a select few who believe they are right and attempt to force their beliefs on the rest of us by using planes as bombs. The disease of ignorance is a cancer, and it has to be stopped.

Interviewer:
[24] What makes a good kisser?

Billings:
[25] A pure heart.

Interviewer:
[26] What is your footwear of choice?

Billings:
[27] Either a Reebok or a new Chanel stiletto (black with rhinestone buckles) ... hint for the wife.

Interviewer:
[28] What do you think of Shakespeare's work?

Billings:
[29] In 197blah at Schaumburg High School, Chrisanne and I auditioned for Twelfth Night as Sebastian and Viola. We were up against 2 other teams of real siblings, but I told her we would get it. "We don't look that much alike, you know." she says, as skeptical as ever. "We're going to get it," says I losing myself in those gorgeous green eyes. We created a physicality with our bodies that enabled us to walk and stand alike and created the illusion we were from the same parents. We got the role, and that play has always meant something very special to us. Twenty-six years later, still together, and still losing ourselves in each other's eyes. Oh yeah ... Shakespeare? He's okay. I'm a William's gal myself.

Interviewer:
[30] Is the glass half full or half empty?

Billings:
[31] Always half full.

Interviewer:
[32] What are your feelings on the events of September 11th?

Billings:
[33] I am overjoyed and proud to live in a country that stands by its convictions and principals. We cannot and will not be stopped. By anyone.

Interviewer:
[34] Has it changed you in any way?

Billings:
[35] I've always lived my life like it was the last day. Now I have company.

Interviewer:
[36] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

Billings:
[37] As a good friend and a good wife.

Interviewer:
[38] What is your pet peeve?

Billings:
[39] Impatient people.

Talk to the hand!

Velasca is the poster girl for impatience


Interviewer:
[40] Have you ventured into the small or big screen yet?

Billings:
[41] Nope. Have something in mind, do you?

Interviewer:
[42] What do you see yourself doing in the future? Any future projects?

Billings:
[43] Working like a dog. I want to collapse on stage at 97 saying my last line and hopefully getting a laugh.

Interviewer:
[44] What advice can you give to future actors?

Billings:
[45] Become a plumber. But ... if you MUST act, then you MUST ACT! You cannot do anything else. You can't fall back on anything, you can't have a safety net, you have to feel this is in your soul. This isn't a profession, it's a lifestyle and an honor. Respect it.

Interviewer:
[46] What attracts you more to a mate? Looks, or a sense of humor?

Billings:
[47] They're both equally important. When you have the ability to laugh and be laughed at, you become sexier and more beautiful. If you're born with killer tits and a bubble butt and have no idea what's funny, you might as well shove your head in the oven.

Interviewer:
[48] What are your favorite kinds of movies? Horror, comedy, or romance?

Billings:
[49] I like movies that move me. Then again, I adore Plan Nine From Outer Space. What do I know?

Interviewer:
[50] Have you worked on something that made you ask, “Why Am I Doing This”?

Billings:
[51] Yes, and I won't tell you which project it was.

Interviewer:
[52] What would you say every actor needs?

Billings:
[53] Valium.

Interviewer:
[54] Who would you say is the best person you have worked with?

Billings:
[55] Can't do it. I can tell you who changed me the most. Chrisanne Blankenship, Tina Landau, and singing with Bea Arthur. I don't think that needs explaining, do you?

Interviewer:
[56] What have you worked on that gave you the most pride in?

Billings:
[57] Gertrude Stein and a Companion showed me a side of myself I never thought was there. Time To Burn gave me a real sense of ensemble, and doing Xena Live showed me I can kick Elizabeth Laidlaw's b-tt.

Interviewer:
[58] From what you have seen, can working in Sci-Fi be a death sentence on a career?

Billings:
[59] I love it. Can't wait for the third and final one [Xena Live].

Interviewer:
[60] What theme would you like to tackle in your next work?

Billings:
[61] I'd like to play someone a little wispier. Maybe a little Gwyneth Paltrow. Yeah ... THAT'S gonna happen!

Anagrams include 'lawn-type growth' and 'ratty gown whelp'.

Gwyneth! Gwyneth! Wherefore art thou...Gwyneth!


Interviewer:
[62] Would you say that the gay community clings to any quote “icon”? Does that put too much pressure on that icon?

Billings:
[63] Without the gay community putting words on celebrities, we wouldn't have celebrities. I feel lucky if they call me over to a table for a drink.

Interviewer:
[64] What's your idea of a perfect world?

Billings:
[65] Wouldn't want to live in one, there'd be nothing to conquer.

Interviewer:
[66] What is the best feeling in the world?

Billings:
[67] Great sex and then a chocolate milk shake.

Interviewer:
[68] What is the worst?

Billings:
[69] Great sex and no milk.

Interviewer:
[70] What is the nicest view, nearest to where you live?

Billings:
[71] Our front room faces out over a small neighborhoody street. There's a beautiful old tree that hangs partly over our front windows. In the summer, it's absolutely gorgeous.

Interviewer:
[72] What is your most cherished memory?

Billings:
[73] I have many. The day I got married was the best day ever. Chrisanne looked like a princess and we were surrounded with 150 of our closest friends. Then after the ceremony we all went to Sidetracks for Broadway night. Also, the night my Mom came to see my one woman show at the Bailiwick Before I Disappear. After the show I introduced her to the audience and she stood up (grandly) and waved to the adoring crowd. I also remember watching my Dad conduct the orchestra at Harbor College. Watching him create music was magical for me.

Interviewer:
[74] What is your favorite kind of lighting?

Billings:
[75] Soft. Doris Day soft.

Interviewer:
[76] What opportunity are you most happy you seized?

Billings:
[77] Marrying my best friend.

Interviewer:
[78] Did you enjoy working on Xena Live 1?

Billings:
[79] Very much. It was such a collaborative effort. Everyone contributed, and Claudia Allen was so generous with letting us throw in ideas. That's my favorite way to work. Got an idea??? Toss it in!!!

Interviewer:
[80] What made you decide to come on for part 2?

Billings:
[81] I'd follow Amy Matheny anywhere. And have.

99.99% pure.

"Look into my eyes...follow me...follow me..."
Now we all know why her nickname is "Svengali Matheny"


Interviewer:
[82] What do you think of Xena fans?

Billings:
[83] I LOVE them! They're one of a kind. Loyal, loud, raucous, and fabulous dressers!

Interviewer:
[84] What makes you smile?

Billings:
[85] I Love Lucy.

Interviewer:
[86] What makes you angry?

Billings:
[87] Reality TV.

Interviewer:
[88] What bodily function do you most appreciate?

Billings:
[89] The ability to laugh. I'd like to hear Lisa Velton's response to this. The woman's a pig.

Interviewer:
[90] In 50 words or less, why or how was the world created?

Billings:
[91] If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this to you, now would I?

Interviewer:
[92] What does the word “family” mean to you?

Billings:
[93] A group of people designed to make your life a more annoying and loving place to be.

Interviewer:
[94] What does the word “friend” mean?

Billings:
[95] Someone who doesn't yell at me when I call them at 3am and complain.

Interviewer:
[96] What did you want to be when you grew up?

Billings:
[97] Happy.

Interviewer:
[98] What questions should I have asked then answer please?

Billings:
[99] If you asked any more, we'd have to sleep together. And I just don't have the time.

Xena...Xeeeena...when you wake you will let me ride Argo...

Thank goodness Xena and Gabrielle had the time!






Alexandra's Resume

She played Mrs. Potentate in Larry Kramer's, Just Say No, opposite Greg Louganis at the Bailiwick Theatre.

Other credits include:
The Adventures of Herculina at Next
Nora at The Court Theatre
Berlin Circle, Space and Time to Burn (Jeff Award, Best Ensemble) at the Steppenwolf Theatre.

At the Bailiwick she could be seen in Inferno Beach, Son of Fire, Trojan Women and her one woman show Before I Disappear (also for The Theatre Offensive in Boston).

Other shows include:
Gertrude Stein and a Companion at Strawdog
Lobo a Go Go at the Theatre Building
Tour de Farce at Wisdom Bridge and the Apollo
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom at the Royal George (After Dark Award, Best Actress)
I Came to New York to Write for the Organic, Death Defying Acts for Summer Nites (After Dark Award, Best Ensemble) and a reading of Clue - The Musical off-Broadway at The Lamb.

She has also appeared at The Chicago Dramatists Workshop, Torso Theatre, The Improv Olympic, for Borealis Productions, StreetSigns, and her favorite role as Cruella DeVille at Lifeline.

She was also in both Xena Lives. Her After Dark Award winning nightclub act could be seen at Park West, The Gentry, The Royal George Cabaret, Pops for Champagne, and Eighty-Eight's in New York.

Her debut CD Being Alive was released in the Spring of 2000.

Ms. Billings is an Artistic Associate at the Bailiwick Theatre.

For Chrisanne (her wife).



Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.





Articles

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy].One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of..." series in Whoosh issues #58, 61-66,68-73





Biography

a woman of mystery Amy Murphy
Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she has read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: "I Have Many Skills" Various episodes
First episode seen: TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

 

 

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