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Dickens Christmas Fair 2005 September Massive Missive
(sent September 23, 2005)

Join us for a Victorian Christmas Card Come to Life!

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair!
Grand Opening Friday November 25th
Saturdays and Sundays November 26th through December 18th
In the San Francisco Cow Palace Exhibition Hall

Hello everyone,

There is a great deal of information in this missive, including our upcoming book character auditions on the evenings of October 5th and 7th. I have put the details and character list toward the end of this missive, since it is rather expansive. Have a great weekend!


PS Remember to contact the individual posters of audition notices, rather than replying back to me. Entertainment questions should be directed to me at

In This Missive:
Workshop Weekends
The Morning Meeting
Missive List
Cheap Hoops Again!
Promotional Flyers Available Online
Need a Director for French Postcards
Fezziwig's Needs Male Dancers
LORS Auditions
Coventry Carolers
Stark Ravens Panto Personell
Holly Tree Club (Promotions)
Sully's Calling Cards
Book Character Auditions - October 5th & 7th in San Francisco

Exciting news! The Dickens Christmas Fair has expanded into another bay! We are moving much of what was in the Adventurer's Club/Silk Road Stage bay into about 60% of what was previously the "deco bay" next door. The Father Christmas Stage will now have it's own expanded area where the Silk Road stage was last year and the Silk Road Stage will be part of an expanded Golden Square area (see the great description in Nicholas Nickelby, included at the bottom of this email). The food booths will also be in that new bay, close to better ventilation.

There will be an expanded lobby area next to Fezziwig's, providing a more congenial atmosphere for our arriving patrons in inclement weather.

This will all impact our available space, so the Green Room areas may have to be a little cozier than they were last year, please think of ways to make that viable. Parking will also be impacted, so expect some changes there.

Workshop Weekends
November 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th at Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School, 1427 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica, CA 94044
November 19th and 20th (dress rehearsal) at the Cow Palace

We will be requiring three workshops of all performers, some of which will be specified and others elective. Robert and I are working on a menu of workshops that will be interesting for one and all.

Thanks again to Steve Johnson from the Guild of St. Ambrose for finding us this lovely location, where he is a teacher. Thanks also to the kind folks at the school for letting us weird actor types invade their facility.

The Morning Meeting
The morning meeting on the first day of workshops is always a lot of fun and a little crazy; announcements are made, staff, directors and workshop leaders are introduced, and there is general amusement had by all. The meeting will be in the multi-purpose room at 10:00AM Saturday November 5th and will take the place of the first workshop period.

There will also be a big meeting at 10:00AM on dress rehearsal day at the Cow Palace. Your attendance is seriously requested at both of these meetings.

Missive List
Some people only want to be on the missive list for certain events, so being on one list does not automatically mean you are on all of them. If you have friends who would like to be added to the list, please have them email me at this address, with their first and last names and email addresses. If you would like to be removed from the list, please email me and asked politely to be removed. Please check your in-boxes regularly, as I get a number of bounces and will eventually remove you from the list if your email to your address consistently bounces.

All costume related questions may be directed to the illustrious costume department at More information from them soon. Please also see

Cheap Hoops Again!
Annie Lore will as usual be taking orders for hoopskirts made by Lace Memories. You should order early, since they get backlogged this time of year. Contact Annie at for prices and details.

Promotional Flyers Available Online
Folks have been asking us for promotional material for the Dickens Fair to hand out at the various events they are participating in. So we have posted a flyer in Adobe Acrobat pdf format at for you to download and hand out to your hearts desire. Posters and 4-color flyers will be available at the first day of workshops.

Thank you so much for all the pre-fair advertising assistance.

Need a Director for French Postcards
The director we had lined up for he scandalous "French Postcards" has had to back out due to another theatrical commitment, so we are looking for a new director. The show will be in the V&A in the evening, probably 5:30-6:30. The concept is a story-line with narrators telling the story and actors in scantily-clad posed pseudo-dream/memory sequences behind a scrim. We have previous scripts and pictures. If you are interested, please contact Cat Taylor at

Fezziwig's Needs Male Dancers
Do you like to dance?  Do you enjoy close interaction with people? Do you have fun with parlour games and like to sing Christmas Carols? then Fezziwig's is the place for you. The main purpose of the Fezziwig's cast is to show the customers a good time at our little Christmas party, both by dancing with them, and/or interacting with them off the dance floor.

So, if you can dance, act and be charming all at the same time, and would like to be part of of what some have called the best ensemble at fair, contact and ask about becoming a cast member of Fezziwig's.  also check out

LORS Auditions
The LORS are holding auditions this year. We are seeking to expand our cast of Lovelies, those Nightingales of the East End.
Rehearsals are Monday evenings in El Cerrito and attendance is mandatory. There will also be rehearsals on the weekends, beginning in November. Performers must be able to provide their own costumes, makeup and accessories, as approved by the director.
We are looking for singers with several years experience in both choral and solo music. Age range 21 - 35. Sorry, but we can't accept anyone under 21. We are looking for singers who are comfortable with ensemble singing and understand the concept of teamwork. Dancing and acting background also desired.
The audition is next Thursday evening, Sept. 29th in San Francisco.

If you are interested, please contact Robin at
Thank you for your interest.

Coventry Carolers
To all members of Coventry Carolers and any interested singers:

 If you a person who is dying to sing, we would love to meet and talk with you.  We are a large group already, but could always make room for more singers. If you are interested please email me {Bob Crabb}  at

Stark Ravens Panto Personell
Stark Ravens are looking for the following personnel to help with
the Pantomime this year:

2 Techs: No prior tech experience necessary, but it would be helpful.  Must be able to lift heavy things.

2 evil henchpersons: Some singing and dancing.  Very physical roles.  Must be willing to help out backstage.

Piano player
1 Foley Artiste (sound effects)/Percussionist
Horns:  if you play sax, trumpet or trombone and want to break out your axe, come play in our pit!

Must be available Wednesday evenings starting October 12 and Saturdays starting October 22 until opening.  Please email Director Mark Donnelly at if you are interested.

Holly Tree Club (Promotions)
The key to a happy Dickens Fair season is a great show AND large crowds.  You already play a part in the former, now won't you don a muffler and join us in creating the later.  Begin by signing up for the Holly Tree Club.  This year we are assembling a very exciting schedule of promotional events such as:

Genre' Movies at your local theaters (Oliver Twist opens this Friday in New York and LA, September 30th here)
Christmas Tree Lightings in the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose areas.
Pub Crawls in The San Francisco area and your local watering holes
Poster and flyering Gigs throughout the Bay area

...your ideas are welcomed!

For instance, we would love to have a Victorian skating night, but we need someone who skates to be the point person on the project!

Everyone is welcome.  As a thank you, anyone who attends any one event will be given two complimentary tickets to the fair per costumed person (over 16). Anyone who attends three events will be treated to a complimentary drink token good for either two alcoholic or three non-alcoholic beverages (ID's are required boys and girls). After your fourth appearance we would like to thank you with a Dickens Fair T-shirt.  These last two gifts are on top of the two comp tickets per appearance.

If you are interested please e-mail Kathy Kingman at you will be invited to join The Holly Tree Club yahoo group and can look there for up to the minute info on promotional events. You can also contact Kathy at the office to ask to be added to the telephone contact list, the number is (800) 510-1558 x 0

Sully's Calling Cards
A look into the future:
Ah! here we are, November 25, 2005, and it' s opening day at Dicken's Fair. What's this?  You don't have any calling cards?  Had they been ordered from Sully at or before November 7th, 2005 you would have had your cards on opening day.

No card orders will be taken after December 3rd, 2005  Sunday of second weekend of Dickens Fair.
Orders must include the following information:

1. Your real name and phone number and the best time you can be reached there
2. The information you wish to have on the card
3. Was card made for you last year?(we may still have the copy here but need new copy just to confirm every thing is correct.
4. We you can be found at Fair
5. Any other information you think we will need or any questions

Cost of the cards is $15.00 FOR 150 cards

Book Character Auditions - October 5th & 7th in San Francisco
Book character auditions will be held on October 5th and 7th starting at 7:00PM at my home in San Francisco. Since I don't really want to publish my home address in a missive, you will be given the address when you sign up for a time for your auditions. The location is easily accessible by public transportation and there are no pets for those of you with allergies. No smoking, please.

The following character parts are open as of now, if you played one of them last year and would like to do so again, please contact your director.

If you would like to audition for one of these roles, please email Robert Young at with the following information:

1. Your full name, email address and phone number
2. The character(s) you would like to audition for. (Please prepare a bit of the dialogue for that character - see web resources above - and be prepared to improvise as that character.)
3. Your first, second and third choice of audition time on October 5th or 7th. The auditions will be scheduled at 15 minute intervals, please be patient as we sometimes get a bit behind when auditioning promising actors.
4. Optional: A brief note of any experience you would like us to know about. We will have applications and accept resumes (not required) at the auditions.

Christmas Carol
Tiny Tim Cratchit   (age: 5-7 years)
Belinda Cratchit (age: 8-13 years)
Master Peter Cratchit - oldest son (age: 10-14 years)
Two young Cratchits (age: 5-8 years)
Ghost of Christmas Past (androgynous - male or female)
Henrietta's Sister
Party Attendant & Wrangler

Oliver Twist
Artful Dodger -  protégé of Mr. Fagin, a pickpocket, fence and down right triksy fellow.  He is a mature 13+, or a youthful looking 21- A  fun, active role in the streets, full of cockney (accent trainable) some stage slight of hand (also trainable)

Oliver Twist - a youngish, sad boy who's had a very hard life. The story tells the tale of his going from a life of hard times to a life of familial bliss.  This is an active roll, often in the streets, and one needing a  mix of innocence and maturity.

Master Bates - Dodgers' best bud, who likes a good laugh more than anything.  He is 13+ or a youthful 20- (partially dependent on the age of the cast Dodger)…  An ability to fall into raucous laughter a must.  He is a student of the insuppressible Mr. Fagin, and a pickpocket.

Mr. Fagin - Fagin is a slippery character in the utmost.  He is a fence who runs a group of pickpockets, and who always has his eye on the prize… retirement money.  Dealing with unsavory types is a necessary evil for him, made only easier by his being an unsavory character himself.  Best if portrayed as someone who causes you to want to wash your hand after you've shaken.

Mr. Fang - an incredibly ill-tempered magistrate who comes off like a Monty Python skit in the best of ways…  subtle, self-mocking British humor at it's best.  He is in a short gig taking no more than half an hour to an hour of the day, and always gets a good crowd.  Points awarded for blustery, foolish self-importance.

Rose Maylee - Oliver Twist's family, as much as he's got it left.  She is gentle, sweet, strong, and an upper class lady between the ages of 20 and 30.  This can either be an afternoon gig, or an all day gig, depending.  Urges to rescue young orphans and save women of ill repute a plus.

Miss Bet -  the best friend of Miss Nancy, a gal who hangs with the wrong crowd.  It could even be said that Bet herself hangs with the wrong crowd.  She is a cockney character (accent trainable) who is not above lightening the pockets of over-burdened Dickens Christmas characters.  Low on scene time, high on street time.  Plays an important role in the conclusion of the story, and goes utterly mad in her last scene.

The Other Books
The "Other Books" is an ensemble cast that prides itself on showcasing the vast panoply of Dickens'  brilliantly wrought characters.  We are interesting in casting as many of these characters as possible, which range across all ages, classes and emotional quirks.  We encourage interested parties to read one of the books, or at least view one of the superb adaptations currently available to get a clearer picture of these characters. 

Nicholas Nickelby
Smike - Nicholas' loyal yet physically debilitated sidekick in his adventures.
Madeline Bray - Preternaturally sweet and long suffering heroine.
Charles Cheeryble - Force of nature and formidable philanthropist.
Edwin (Ned) Cheeryble - The same (his twin).
Frank Cheeryble - Incredibly high spirited and well-meaning nephew (Kate Nickelby's love interest). 
Henry Wittiterly - Sensitive and upright spouse of Mrs. W.
Mrs. Julia Wittiterly - Painfully aesthetic and sensitive spouse of Mr. W. - very conscious of her ornamental place in society
Alphonse (Bill) - their sullen page
Mr. Lillyvick - Thundering paterfamilias of the adorably upscale Kenwig family.
Tim Linkinwater - Cheeryble Brothers longtime clerk, a lion albeit no longer young
Mr. Pike - Dandy rogue and ne'er do well.
Mr. Pluck - Another one.
Mr. Scaley - Repo man.
Mr. Tix - Repo man

Pickwick Papers
Sam Weller - Mr Pickwick's devoted, irrepressible, cockney manservant
Nathaniel Winkle - accident-prone would-be sportsman and prominent Pickwickian
Tracy Tupman - love-struck middle-aged bachelor, admirer of "the fair sex"
Augustus Snodgrass - occasionally abstracted and melancholy, reputed a great poet among his friends and acquaintances
Alfred Jingle - strolling player and rascal
Mr. Wardle - A stout, jolly old gentleman and host at Manor Farm, Dingley Dell

David Copperfield
Dora Spenlow - Dewy young and empty-headed female ingénue.
Uriah Heep - An 'umble villain, oily and obsequious. 
James Steerforth - Dashing young and aristocratic rakehell. 
Emma Micawber (Mrs) - Long suffering, good-naturedly hysterical helpmeet to the perennially impecunious Mr Micawber 
Mr. Murdstone - David's terrifyingly strict and cold stepfather.
Miss Murdstone - Mr Murdstone's equally terrifying, prim and cold sister, a spinster
Clara Peggotty - - kindly, stalwart and devoted servant (David's nursemaid  - can be young or early middle age).
Li'l Emily - Beautiful young woman doomed to a life of sin by her ambition.
Great Expectations
Philip "Pip" Pirrip - A young man from very humble beginnings with great expectations.
Herbert Pocket - Pip's cheery friend and roommate.
Mr. Wemmick - Eccentric lawyer, Pip's friend and advisor.
Abel Magwich - Ex-felon. Pip's secret benefactor.
Molly - The extremely reserved, mysterious and slightly unnerving servant to Mr. Jaggers (she has a secret!)
Our Mutual Friend
Bella Wilfer -  Tart-tongued and ambitious young woman from humble beginnings.
Nicodemas "Noddy" Boffin - The "golden dustman," jolly working class gentleman made rich by a stroke of good fortune.
Rogue Riderhood - "Colourful dockside character," and scoundrel of the first water
Mr. Venus - An eccentric articulator of bones. 
Bradley Headstone - A frighteningly tight-wound schoolmaster and would-be nemesis of Eugene Wrayburn
Mr. Veneering - Society gentleman. New money putting on airs. 
Mrs. Veneering - Society Lady. New money putting on airs. 
Miss Georgiana Podsnap - Sweet but dim society girl.
Alfred Lammle - An extremely charming con-man
"Fascination" Flegby - A deceptively mild-mannered young man about town, associate of the Lammles. 
Little Dorritt
Arthur Clennam - Long-suffering, poetically morose gentleman (early middle age - Mrs. Finching's former fiance). 
Daniel Doyce - Indefatigable inventor and entrepreneur, the "Spirit of the Age" made manifest
Pancks - Man of business to a benign tyrant, a snorting tugboat of a man.
Martin Chuzzlewitt (only casting English, NOT American)
Mr. Pecksniff - An ambitious upper middle-class gentleman with a strong hypocritical streak (among his other carefully covered-up vices). 
Mercy "Merry" Pecksniff - The younger Miss Pecksniff, lively to the point of pertness, the "pretty one"
Charity "Cherry" Pecksniff -   The elder Miss Pecksniff, very proper on the surface, the "smart one"
Martin Chuzzlewit (the elder) - Rich and cantankerous old gentleman.
Mary -  The elder Mr. Chuzzlewitt's companion and nurse, poor but proud, restrained and  sensible
Martin Chuzzlewit (the younger) -  A vain, strong-willed, egotistical and ambitious young man, the elder Martin's contentious nephew
Tom Pinch - Martin's preternaturally cheery and optimistic (to the point of delusion!) friend, and dogsbody to the Pecksniffs 
Montague Teague (Tig Montague) - Boisterously flamboyant con man.
Mrs. Todger - Very proper, very nervous, very Dickensian landlady.
Young Bailey - The Todgers' bootblack a clever, witty, jocular boy, wise beyond his years

Description of Golden Square (from Nicholas Nickelby)
Mr Ralph Nickleby was not, strictly speaking, what you would call a merchant, neither was he a banker, nor an attorney, nor a special pleader, nor a notary. He was certainly not a tradesman, and still less could he lay any claim to the title of a professional gentleman; for it would have been impossible to mention any recognised profession to which he belonged. Nevertheless, as he lived in a spacious house in Golden Square, which, in addition to a brass plate upon the street-door, had another brass plate two sizes and a half smaller upon the left hand door-post, surrounding a brass model of an infant's fist grasping a fragment of a skewer, and displaying the word 'Office,' it was clear that Mr Ralph Nickleby did, or pretended to do, business of some kind; and the fact, if it required any further circumstantial evidence, was abundantly demonstrated by the diurnal attendance, between the hours of half-past nine and five, of a sallow-faced man in rusty brown, who sat upon an uncommonly hard stool in a species of butler's pantry at the end of the passage, and always had a pen behind his ear when he answered the bell.

Although a few members of the graver professions live about Golden Square, it is not exactly in anybody's way to or from anywhere. It is one of the squares that have been; a quarter of the town that has gone down in the world, and taken to letting lodgings. Many of its first and second floors are let, furnished, to single gentlemen; and it takes boarders besides. It is a great resort of foreigners. The dark-complexioned men who wear large rings, and heavy watch-guards, and bushy whiskers, and who congregate under the Opera Colonnade, and about the box-office in the season, between four and five in the afternoon, when they give away the orders,--all live in Golden Square, or within a street of it. Two or three violins and a wind instrument from the Opera band reside within its precincts. Its boarding-houses are musical, and the notes of pianos and harps float in the evening time round the head of the mournful statue, the guardian genius of a little wilderness of shrubs, in the centre of the square. On a summer's night, windows are thrown open, and groups of swarthy moustached men are seen by the passer-by, lounging at the casements, and smoking fearfully. Sounds of gruff voices practising vocal music invade the evening's silence; and the fumes of choice tobacco scent the air. There, snuff and cigars, and German pipes and flutes, and violins and violoncellos, divide the supremacy between them. It is the region of song and smoke. Street bands are on their mettle in Golden Square; and itinerant glee-singers quaver involuntarily as they raise their voices within its boundaries.

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