Anna Xenokrati plays Iras in Portland Actors Ensemble’s free production of Antony and Cleopatra

Happy Thursday!  Today I have a Cleo Chat interview with the great actor who plays Iras in Portland Actors Ensemble’s 2014 Twilight Tragedie free production of Antony and Cleopatra, and that is Anna Xenokrati.  Anna shares with us some of her thoughts about this wonderful production, which continues its run at 7 pm tonight, July 17th, as well as July 18, 19, and July 24, 25, and 26th, all at Woodstock Park in Portland.  You can find our show schedule and more information about this play by visiting our website,

Now here’s Anna!

(Athena McElrath–AM)  Who is your character in the story of Antony and Cleopatra?


(Anna Xenokrati–AX)  I play Iras, a young attendant and confidant to Cleopatra. She is extremely loyal and protective of the Egyptian queen. Iras appears to be fragile, but towards the end of the play she reveals opposite qualities.



(AM)  How did you prepare for your role?


(AX)  This production called for some extra preparation in terms of language and accents, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as prior to my acting training, my love for languages led me to study and teach French. In this adaptation of Antony & Cleopatra, fragments of the text are in Arabic and the script calls for Middle Eastern accents for all the actors who are in the Egyptian court. As it turns out I had taken an Arabic course at my university, which was helpful for my preparation for this role. We also worked on the Arabic text with the dialect coach, Israa Hasani and Elizabeth, before starting rehearsals and that helped me to reconnect with the Arabic language and culture.



(AM)   What is your favorite moment in the play and why?


(AX)  My favorite moment in the play is the final act. When tragedy is imminent, the audience witnesses a different side of Iras: proud and fierce, she takes her fate into her own hands. Catharsis occurs in the end, however not in strict Aristotelian terms, since death is not regarded as something terrible in Antony & Cleopatra. There is no fear of death, but a strong belief in the afterlife that resonates throughout the play and by Iras’ suicide.



(AM)  Is there anything else you’d like to add that I’ve not asked?   Please do so!


(AX)  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Elizabeth [Huffman, director], and Portland Actors Ensemble for this wonderful project, and my dear ones: Dimitris and Ellie for their love and support!



Thanks so much, Anna!


Learn more about Portland Actors Ensemble’s current production of Antony and Cleopatra, take a look at the study guide by Alex Diaz-Hui,  see the program for the cast list, and visit our show schedule for dates, times and locations of this fine show.  We hope to see you there!



Have any questions about Antony and Cleopatra?  We’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

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Till next time,

Take pains; be perfect; adieu!

DCFC0486.JPGAthena McElrath is an actor and singer who is also an Administrative Board member with Portland Actor’s Ensemble.  She helps PAE with social media and educational outreach.  She often works onstage with her husband, K.J. McElrath, in their cabaret act, called McElrath Cabaret, which features songs from classic Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley.  For more: