My first convention, my first opportunity to see Hudson Leick live and I had no idea what to expect.....
Here it was, August 9th, a Sunday. I had decided to come to the Xena Convention with my partner, my 5-year old son, my best friend and members of the local Xenaversity Fan Club to see one of our favorite Xena characters, Callisto, the actress Hudson Leick! She entered the room at 5:45 (not on the dot... do you think I was actually eyeing my watch?). She was sporting her new hairstyle: very short, Ann Hesch style, but still bright blond. She wore a light blue dress, silk or satin, I'm not sure (hey, I'm a guy!) It was shoulderless and went down to her knees, most of the time. When she walked around, the hemline slowly rose and she kept pulling it down. But that was the only 'line' we saw. She stood there for what seemed several minutes just staring out at the audience. I got the impression that she was just as starstruck by the number of fans who had paid to see her 'talk and walk' as she was the first time she appeared at a Xena Convention.
She finally broke the ice and before we knew it she was as chatty as ever! It didn't take long to see she was a very energetic, bubbly person. If not for her present attire and hairstyle, she was Callisto!! in every respect of her character. To me, what makes a great actor/actress is their ability to be something totally opposite of themselves. Because I had seen Hudson Leick on other television shows before she ever became Callisto, I knew she could do just that. But I can definitely see where playing Callisto is just a walk through the park for Hudson. She admitted it herself that night and in previous interviews. She had a hectic childhood; so by supressing the pent up demons of that past and releasing them in her controlled acting ability, she gives an astounding 5 star performance!
She showed us one way she releases her inner demons after the fans asked her to do her 'Callisto' scream. She agreed willingly to the request, but only if the fans screamed at her first! We did with no remorse for the hearing impaired and Hudson was satisfied. She shook herself a little, loosened her arms and legs and then stood completely still. Seconds later, a shrill of such magnitude shrieked from her mouth for what seemed an eternity. That definitely appeased all the die-hard Callisto fans. Then, for an encore, she asked if we wanted to hear it again... and what do you think the audience's reaction was... YES, OF COURSE!! This one was pretty much like the first, except she held on in the end on this one and carried it to the pitch of a mouse.... it was CLASSIC!
Of course, Hudson answered various questions from fans who had lined up right at the base of the stage. The fans and questions varied. Some considered her 'Callisto' and asked questions such as "Are you and Velasca friends?"and "How did you feel when Xena killed you?" She humored them, but she point-blank restated their questions, "How did 'my character' feel when she killed Xena or how did 'Hudson Leick' feel when Callisto killed Xena?" I found that somewhat humorous because she was drawing an obvious line between the character she played and herself. I think it's important to actor/actresses to be recognized as themselves, not the characters they play. But that brings up a much debated issue of 'stereotyped roles', and for now, we won't go there.
Hudson answered the question from both perspectives. In respect to how 'Callisto' felt when Xena plunged the dagger in her abdomen, Hudson said she felt it was an act of love on Xena's part. Callisto wanted to die and Xena knew that. Even though Callisto said she felt she had a new lease on life, she knew that would push Xena to strike her down, and she did. Xena and Callisto have always had this love/hate relationship because Xena has always felt responsible for 'creating' Callisto. As Callisto died, she realized the love Xena had for her. From Hudson's own perspective, she felt that the experience was very sensual. She hit the mood right on the head, for myself anyways. I felt that the air about Xena and Callisto as she died was very close... very sensual. It was unique to have the perspective from someone as they were dying, or at least acting it out.
One of the best questions of the night was "Why did you cut your hair?" Not only was that a good question, but it's response was even better. "I'm sick of looking like Barbie in this society!" Of course the applause filled the room for a good minute. But another question was asked that may have answered that question more truthfully. "Do you think Callisto will be back?" Hudson stood there for a moment, possibly afraid to say what she wanted to say to this crowd, but she did. "I need to move on. I'm respectful and thankful to being allowed to play the part of Callisto, but it's played out, it's old, there's not much more they can do with her." Every good actor/actress wants to expand their acting abilities so they can grow, evolve, and learn! Her answer may have hurt a few Callisto fans, but they too knew she was right. So in respect to her hair, she probably cut it to look less like the Callisto character so that everyone would see Hudson more clearly! Don't fret though, Hudson will be back as Liz Friedman on Hercules and as Priestess Callisto!
I wasn't one of the people who paid for the reserved seats, so I wasn't sure we'd get a chance to get an autograph from Hudson. But to my amazement, Hudson stayed long enough to sign every single autograph requested... AND she posed for pictures afterwards... AND she even hung out with some members of her Official Fan Club and 'chatted' for a while. My son was so excited when Hudson actually autographed his picture. We framed it when we got home and put it in his bedroom. I had really wanted to get a photo of her and my son, but he was worn out, so we took him home. It was a great experience for my son and myself to meet such a wonderfully talented actress and to hear her personal perspective of our favorite show, Xena: Warrior Princess!
Until the next convention..... Mr. Jamester