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Dickens Christmas Fair 2005 December Missive #2

(sent December 8th, 2005)

Thanks for a great second weekend! I have been told by visiting customers and participants that the Dickens Fair is now like it was in the "glory days" of certain years past. It's a wonderful thing to have people tell you that your event is at it's best now, as opposed to glowingly remembered years of yore. Congratulations on a job well done!

Thanks to all who participated in the KRON broadcast, it looked great! We always get a great boost in attendance from these broadcasts. Phyllis sends her regards on this, later in the missive.

There's a great article in the Marin Independent Journal on Marshall Virello and his carousel at

Also remember that when you see Queen Victoria and her entourage, you should react accordingly, with bows and "God Save the Queen's. Tell the audience members around you about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and help create the awe and inspiration that should follow Her Royal Majesty and His Royal Highness as they walk though London between 3:00 and 4:00 each day. Remember, this is the time of the Great Exhibition (The Crystal Palace) and we are all thrilled at what Albert has achieved in it's creation.

In This Missive:
NFP Participant Audience Members
Private Party in Sal's Saturday Evening
Reminder About Your Character Interactions
Pay No Attention to the Privies Behind the Curtains...
Betty's Round Robin Pictures on CD
Dark Garden Corset Raffles
Timegames Thanks and Requests
Comp Tickets for Christmas Revels

NFP Participant Audience Members
Please remember that the audience must have priority when it come to seeing our shows. Please allow them to be seated before taking seats yourself. The guard stationed at the door is there to assist in making sure they are allowed seats and that the audience area is not overcrowded. He is also there to make sure that no one under 18 is allowed, as although Naughty French Postcards is filled with tasteful drawing room humor, it's also rather racy. My Mother compared it to the Moulin Rouge show she saw with my father in Paris in 1964. <Gotta love my Mom>

Private Party in Sal's Saturday Evening
Please be aware that there is a private party in Sal's this Saturday evening, starting soon after closing. The food will be prepared in the Silk Road bay and transported across two bays to Sal's, so please clear out all three of these bays as soon as possible after closing if you are not directly involved. The groups involved are Bruno, Broadside, Bijou and LORS. Thanks for your assistance and cooperation.

Reminder About Your Character Interactions
Since we're all friends here, we have the tendency to react to each other on the streets of Dickens London, as we would to our friends. But to your character, these people might not be your friend. For example, you may owe Scrooge money and be nervous when wishing him a "Happy Christmas". You might mention this to a visitor to our Fair as you walk by.  As Oliver Twist director Gwen Warfield wrote to me:

"Part of the magic my wonderful cast is able to produce comes from the great, and accurate, reactions from everyone else. Fagin should be treated with some suspicion and concern (unless he's being charming for some twisted, villainous reason - then respond as you feel your character or persona would, but please don't go over the top, as Ace, the actor, doesn't need to be treated like a plague carrier all day!).  There are, of course, characters who may well have business connections with him - in that case, play as you feel appropriate.

Bill Sikes should be treated with respect for the potential violence he carries. Gentlemen, take a care for your ladies, and ladies, please don't flirt with Bill unless you can think of a VERY good reason to come between him and Nancy  Also, gentlemen, unless your character has good reason to feel confident you would win in a fight (very few characters come to mind who fit this description), please treat Bill with the respect you would a Rottweiler just starting to lift a lip in a growl.  Those of us who know Matthew know he's a big teddy bear (and if you don't know that, you should say hi backstage to find out!), but Mr. William Sikes most certainly isn't.

Pay No Attention to the Privies Behind the Curtains...
Gwen also passes this along:
Please be aware that behind the curtain pass-throughs, the illusion of Christmas London is rather thin.  When the curtains are lifted wide out of the way for people to go through, all sorts of things become visible from "on stage" including porta-potties, people's changing areas, and the otherwise not-so-Christmasy underbelly of the Dickens Fair.  While it is polite to hold a curtain wide for someone to pass, the view behind does distract from our show.  So if you lift for yourself, or lift for someone else, please try to keep the back-stage peep show to a minimum.

Betty's Round Robin Pictures on CD
(from Betty)
The Round Robin Panoramic Stills (.jpg) and movie (.mpg) taken by Betty  Simmons (aka Betsey Trotwood) are available on CD. Anyone  who wants to copy and share the CD can do so, that way everyone can get the pix.
10 CDs will be left at the desk in the operations trailer after 10:00Am on Saturday. First come, first served. Ideally, each group will pick up one and share it.....honor system!

Dark Garden Corset Raffles
(from Nathalie)
As many of you have heard, Dark Garden held two corset raffles as our way of thanking everyone who loves our corsets, and helping a few of you to get your own, your very own Dark Garden corset.  Both raffles were held during Mad Sal's Finale and we would like to congratulate our winners. Saturday's winner of a custom corset was Gini <no last name given> and Sunday's winner of a ready-to-wear corset was Mad Sal's own Miss Polly Amory (aka Tanya Anguita).

We had such an outpouring of support with the raffles that Dark Garden is raffling off another custom corset, fitted to you, in your choice of our available fabrics. Tickets will be on sale at the Dark Garden Booth for $5 each starting at 10:00AM on Saturday.  Please note we are only selling enough tickets to cover the cost, and as soon as we have sold enough we will hold the drawing at the Mad Sal's Finale. The drawing (not the results) will also be announced at the French Postcard show. You do not need to be present to win and the gift certificate will be redeemable for either a male or female corset. You can buy a raffle ticket for your friend or sweetheart and we've even had people sending these tickets through the telegraph office. Since Christmas is a time for giving, all the tickets that have been entered in any of this season's drawings will be entered into a second chance drawing to win another ready-to-wear corset from Dark Garden.

Please note that we will not start selling tickets till 10AM, so please do not come to us and ask for them earlier. If you have any questions feel free to contact Nathalie from Dark Garden at '

Timegames Thanks and Requests
Henry Tenenbaum thanked the stalwart 100+ of you and extolled your many talents and attributes more profusely and succinctly than I can! It would be great if any of you remember at least pieces of exactly how he praised you all last Sunday for your Channel 4 triumph. I missed some of it when I ran back to pick up our gift to him - the Victorian Traveling Box (Thank you Surrey Blackburn for knowing its proper English name.) Henry's crew and he were given boxes of truffles too as an added tribute to their fine work (and "in boxes" that Henry might not have truffles melt in his drawers - I watch too much Jon Stewart!) Please send me any of Henry's quotes you remember and we will missive them and keep them in our memory book - do we have one?

My emergency for these last two weekends is needing four more people for one hour each in order to have Timegames be properly and successfully played. The hours for which these four are most needed: one hour each fair day between 11:00 and 1:00, starting in the lobby where those presently presenting the assumed name game to our potential players are stationed. Next, more people are needed at least until two o'clock to check on how the whimsical token rewards are working throughout the fair and to sign up patrons who missed the game in the lobby. There are several Time Travel stations scattered throughout the fair. Without more "tour directors" fewer patrons and their families will win the wondrous whimsical prizes I have picked out for token-holders.

"Will you? Won't you?" Will you join this Timegame to carry it to its highest and best level? Also, please email me if you have played with badged patrons; please tell me about how you made it work well. Email or phone 415-892-0162.

Help! Help! Help! Help make the fair a more memorable "You Are There" experience for our patrons. Also, see the website at FYI this is all walkaround-the-fair encouraging unbadged patrons to pick their assumed names and occupations. The perk is that you will truly SEE the fair!

With All Sorts of Regards,
Phyllis Patterson
Chief Instigator

Comp Tickets for Christmas Revels
(from Dirk Burns)
I would like to invite your cast and crew to attend opening night 12/9 or the second Friday night 12/16 of The Christmas Revels: A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice. For our 20th anniversary we will feature  the songs, dance and stories of medieval England. Please visit our website at
I think it's a natural for both Rennaissance Faire and Dicken's Fair enthusiasts.  I have complimentary tickets available for the opening night performance, Friday, December 9th and Friday December 16th at 7:30pm.  The show takes place at the Scottish Rite Theater on Lake Merritt at 1547 Lakeside Drive in Oakland.  It's about 7 blocks from the 17/19th Street Bart Station and there are several parking lots in the area too.
For tickets please email your request to me and include the following:
1) Your Name
2) Your Phone #
3) Number of tickets you want (limit 4 please)
4) Note that you are with the Dickens Faire or Red Barn Productions.
I will confirm by email and tickets will be held at willcall. 
Please send your requests to
Thanks and have a happy yule season!
Dirk Burns
Executive Director
California Revels

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