I’m very happy to report that Portland Actors Ensemble, in conjunction with Portland author Cindy Brown, with be producing a staged reading of Macdeath for the Fertile Ground 2015 festival.  The reading will be held at O’Connor’s Vault, 7850 SW Capital Highway ( in Multnomah Village),  on January 22, 2015, at 7 pm.


Ms. Brown is the author of the new mystery novel entitled Macdeath, and as Portland Actors Ensemble will be producing Macbeth this summer at the Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, it seemed a natural pairing.


Cindy Brown 1

Author Cindy Brown

    Below is an interview that I conducted with Ms. Brown recently, where she talks about her new book and more!


(Athena McElrath/AM): What led you or inspired you to write Macdeath?

  (Cindy Brown/CB): I woke up one day with a voice in my head (don’t worry, this happens to writers a lot). This particular voice belonged to Ivy Meadows, an actress who was doing affirmations in her car on the way to an audition. I knew pretty quickly that the story was a screwball comedy, and a mystery wrapped around the curse of Macbeth. And thoughprior to Macdeath I wrote only plays and screenplays, I knew this was a novel—Ivy just begged for a bigger canvas. Inspired by a real life actor/ private investigator I knew in Phoenix, I decided to make her a part-time PI. And because I love coming up with absolutely goofy ideas for theater productions, I cast Ivy as an acrobatic witch (complete with flying cauldron) in a circus-themed production of Macbeth.


 (AM): Tell me a little bit about the plot of Macdeath. Does it follow the storyline of Shakespeare’s play, or do you use the play as a jumping-off point for your own treatment in your novel?


(CB): Yes to both questions. I can’t say much without giving away some surprises, but I can say that there is a death at the theater during the opening night performance of Macbeth. Ivy is the only one who thinks it’s “murder most foul,” and pursues the truth undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse. 


Macdeath is available for pre-orders now in time for the holidays, and the author has graciously offered to send a card with a signed bookplate with those pre-orders, so that you have something fun to put in the stocking!


Join us January 22nd and hear Macdeath performed by Portland Actors Ensemble!  And don’t forget that we’ve got a full 2015 summer lineup of Shakespeare favorites coming to parks near you, including Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew.  Playing June through Labor Day at various parks throughout Portland, Oregon, and free to the public, with donations gratefully and graciously accepted.  We also have several Educational Outreach shows perfect for schools to enjoy–contact us for more information!


The second half of my interview with Cindy Brown coming up soon!


Have any questions about Macdeath or PAE’s Fertile Ground show?  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:  http://mcelrathcabaret.com/