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  • August 9, 2022 @ 4:33 am

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Proudly Presents...

The Farndale Avenue…A Christmas Carol


[SlideDeck2 id=2355]


Runs: 12/06/12 — 12/23/12
Opening Night: 12/07/12
Event Time: 7:30pm Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 2:00pm Sunday Matinees
Tickets: $28 for adults, $19 for students (age 18 and under, or with valid college ID) and seniors (age 65 and over)

The genteel English ladies from Farndale Avenue’s Dramatic Society are world renowned for their complete incompetence, and their production of A Christmas Carol is likely to be their worst (and funniest) yet! Think Downton Abbey meets The Three Stooges…in drag! A disaster-prone stage manager, collapsing scenery and hysterical in-fighting amongst the cast help make this truly unique show truly “HILARIOUS!”

Farndale Avenue will never be the same, and you’ll never think of Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas the same way, either! Hysterical holiday madness for ages 16+…

Performances are at The Venetian Theatre, located at 253 E. Main Street, Hillsboro, OR 97123.

Patrick Spike – Phoebe Reece

Spike, as he is generally called, joined the B&B family in 2008 playing Lady Bracknell in our production of The Importance of Being Earnest. After inspiring awe and rage with his adept work in high heels and engaging ankles, he stayed on to help Scott and the team with marketing, audience development and more as a board member. Since then Spike has directed our productions ofEducating RitaThe Mystery of Irma Vepand Dangerous Liaisons. He’s now thrilled to be back in front of the lights as the mostly lovable Phoebe, from Farndale. Spike’s experience spans 25 years on and off stage and in arts administration. He’s also Communications Manager with the Ticket Turtle company here in Portland. Thanks go out to his mom, for her enduring support, James for his love and encouragement, and Max and Myko for all the warm greetings when dad’s been a way for so long at rehearsal. Enjoy the show!



Ian Armstrong – Thelma

Ian is a Bag&Baggage company member who has most recently been seen on the Venetian stage in Of Mice and Men as Carolson, A Christmas Carol as Bob Cratchit and in The Wizard of Oz as the Tin Man for B&B at the Washington County Fair. Ian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Oregon. He is afraid of heights, costumed characters, and aliens.





Sean Powell – Mercedes

Sean is thrilled to return to Bag & Baggage after previously appearing inShakespeare’s R&J as Student #3 (Mercutio, Lady Capulet, Friar Lawrence, and others). Thanks to Scott, Audra, Becci, and the entire cast and crew for this wonderful experience and for letting him pretend to be a lady again. Sean’s other theatre credits include The Drowsy Chaperone (Gangster #1) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat(Asher) both at Broadway Rose, Spring Awakening (Live On Stage – Georg),Minnie’s Boys (Lakewood – Leonard) and White Christmas(Lakewood – Mike). Sean received his BFA in Theater from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he trained at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Sean would like to thank all of his incredibly loving and supportive friends and family, but especially his grandparents, Nanny and Grampy, for always inspiring him with their jubilant British charm.



Rosalind Fell – Gordon

Rosalind is excited to be making her debut with Bag & Baggage. She moved to Portland five years ago from London, England where she worked as a jazz dancer, choreographer and actress in theatre and television. As a dancer she performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane as well as many other venues in and around London. She appeared in many BBC productions for television including Eastenders, Silent Witness, and Waking the Dead as well as industrials for their training department. Since moving to Portland Rosalind has appeared in many theatre productions including most recentlyPride and PrejudiceNorthanger Abbey (Quintessence), The Secret GardenLettice and Lovage (Lakewood Theatre), andRumors (Hart Theatre). She has also recently appeared in an Oregon Lottery commercial. Rosalind teaches dance at Stagecoach theatre Arts School and dance and drama at Northwest Children’s Theatre.


Tylor Neist – Felicity

Tylor is a classically trained musician, but since appearing as Winthrop in The Music Man at the age of ten, his love of the theatre never disappeared. Most recently, he performed with Bag&Baggage as Azolan in Dangerous Liaisons, Barnette Lloyd in Crimes of the Heart, Marley inThe Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, Jim inThe Glass Menagerie, Hap in Death of a Salesman, and Fred in A Christmas Carol(2009). On film, his latest project was Coup De Cinema. As a musician, Tylor earned his Masters of Music from Manhattan School of Music and Bachelors of Music from Boston University. He studied violin with the virtuoso Midori and the former first violinist for the American String Quartet, Mitchell Stern. He was fortunate to have studied chamber music with members of the Muir, Juilliard, Emerson, and American string quartets. Locally, Tylor has played with the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet, Eugene Symphony, and Spokane Symphony. Outside of music and theatre, Tylor trains actively in Aikido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and resides in Hillsboro with his wife and beagle.

Scott Palmer – Director

Scott is the founding Artistic Director of Bag&Baggage and has directed and produced critically acclaimed theatrical productions in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States (including Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Private Lives, Ben Jonson’s The Silent Woman, the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), the North American premiere of Adrian Osmand’s Just One More Dance for OSU’s Holocaust Memorial Week and the world premieres of original adaptations of Romeo and Juliet,MacbethMuch Ado About NothingTwelfth NightThe Tempest, or the Enchanted IsleA Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Christmas Carol. Scott is a Hillsboro native, a graduate of Hillsboro High School, has a B.S. from the University of Oregon, an M.A.I.S. from Oregon State University and studied for his PhD in Contemporary Theatre Practice at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Scott is the founding Artistic Director of Glasgow Repertory Company, and is a member of the Westside Cultural Alliance.


Megan Wilkerson – Scenic Designer

A new arrival in Portland, Megan comes from the Milwaukee/ Chicago area after having spent two seasons as a Scenic Design Assistant at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. She’s a member of Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and received an After Dark award in scenic design for Psalms of a Questionable Nature. In Milwaukee Megan helped found the artistic collective Bad Soviet Habits and designed for both Opera & Theatre. She holds an MFA in Design for the Theatre from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul.


Melissa Heller – Costume Designer

With a lifelong interest in apparel, Melissa always knew that her life would be devoted to fashion. It wasn’t until college that her interest in costuming was born. Hailing from Oregon State University, with a B.S in Apparel Design (and several side projects with Oregon State University Theatres), she graduated in 2008 and promptly moved to Portland to pursue her career in the fashion industry. Melissa decided, relatively quickly, that the consumer apparel world was not for her, so she began work with Oregon Ballet Theater, where she helped to create costumes for several productions for the stage during their 2010/2011 season. Most recently she has been designing costumes for Bag&Baggage’s productions of A Christmas CarolDangerous LiaisonsKabuki Titus, and Of Mice and Men. Melissa continues her partnership with Bag & Baggage for their 5th season as their resident Costume Designer, working next on this year’s The Velveteen Rabbit.


Jonathan Hart – Lighting Designer

This is Jonathan “Bearclaw” Hart’s third season designing with Bag&Baggage. Bearclaw received his MFA in lighting design and technical direction from the University of South Dakota and brings lighting design experience from all across the country. His recent designs here include Shakesepare’s R&JA Christmas Carol,The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, and The Mystery of Irma Vep. You can also see his work for the Broadway Rose Theatre Company where he acts as their resident Technical Director and occasional lighting designer. He would like to thank his family and friends for their ongoing support.


Audra Petrie – Props Master

Audra has been B&B’s Production Manager since the start of the 2008-2009 season and the Company Manager since January 2011. She has also stage managed numerous Bag&Baggage shows in the past – most recently Kabuki TitusShakespeare’s R&J, and The Tempest, or the Enchanted Isle. Audra has done other stage management work for CoHo Productions, Salem Repertory Theatre, and Willamette University. Audra also enjoys dabbling in props work. Besides this show, her most recent prop credits at Bag&Baggage include: Of Mice and Men, Kabuki Titus,Dangerous LiaisonsShakespeare’s R&JA Christmas Carol(both the 2009 and 2011 productions), Crimes of the Heart, and many others.


Playwright – David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr.

David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr.,¹ well-known figures in Great Britain’s alternative theatre community, were writing partners from 1975 until Zerlin’s death in 2001. For 25 years, they collaborated on numerous projects, co-editing the British Alternative Theatre Directory² from 1988-1998. They are best known for the 10 plays which comprise the Farndale Avenuecollection.

Walter Zerlin Jr.

Born Walter Zerkowicz on December 11, 1949 in Guildford, Surrey, Zerlin was the son of Czechoslovak Jewish refugees. A barrister³ by profession from the time he passed the bar in 1974 until his death in 2001, Zerlin once defended John Cleese⁴ over a parking ticket, and through this connection, worked as a legal consultant for the films A Fish Called Wanda and A Dry White Season.

Zerlin was also a performer in his own right, appearing mainly in self-created solo shows and pre-show entertainment acts, and winning an Edinburgh Festival Fringe award in 1980 for Running Around the Stage Like a Lunatic, a solo show in which he played 17 different characters. Zerlin’s father was an opera singer who had used the stage name “Zirlin”, and when Walter Jr formedEntertainment Machine⁵ with David McGillivray in 1975, he took his father’s stage name. Prior to 1975, Zerlin had been known on stage as “Robert Conway”.

McGillivray calls Zerlin “the funniest man I had ever met” credits him with the “brilliant visual gags and choreography” present in their plays.

David McGillivray

Born September 7, 1947 in London, McGillivray is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, producer, and film critic who got his start in the industry writing horror films. He spent much of his early career writing, directing and/or producing British adult films, making cameo appearances in many of them. In 1985, when the Eady Levy⁶ was abolished, McGillivray began to focus all of his attention on writing for the stage. In addition to writing plays, he also began providing material for the comedian Julian Clary, and continues to do so to this day. In recent years, McGilligray has begun to return to the low-budget horror film genre, and with a group of other horror film writers and producers formed production company Pathetique Films in 2004. As a writer, McGillivray is credited with 21 screenplays, short films, and television scripts to date (in addition to appearing as an actor in 17 film and TV projects), as well as the 1992 non-fiction book Doing Rude Things. which was later made into a documentary.

McGillivray describes himself as “a prolific writer, mostly of hack journalism, but also lowbrow films, plays, and radio and television programs” whose “occasional appearances as an actor and broadcaster are limited by lack of training and education plus general stupidity”. He also describes himself as “becoming increasingly unreliable, grouchy and difficult to work with.”

In the process of writing a Farndale Avenue Peter Pan at the time of Zerlin’s death, McGillivray expressed his doubt about being able to finish the project without his FA writing partner.

¹ “Zerlin” and “Zirlin” are alternately used as spellings for Walter’s last name. We’ll use “Zerlin” in this guide.

² known as McGillivray’s Theatre Guide from 1994-1998 (http://openlibrary.org/books/OL14077696M/British_alternative_theatre_directory.)

³ the British term for “lawyer” ⁴ British comedic actor, writer, and producer, and member of Monty Python. Wrote, produced, and starred in A Fish Called Wanda.

⁵ the official name of the McGillivray-Zerlin writing partnership

⁶ a tax on box office receipts in the United Kingdom, used to support the British film industry. The Eady Levy made low-budget film production – the only kind McGillivray was doing – possible.



McGillivray, David. “Walter Zirlin Jr: Performer in court and on the boards”. The Guardian 13 December 2001. “Rober Conway (II)”. pro.imdb.com. 11 July 2012 http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0176768/ “David McGillivray”. imdb.com. 11 July 2012 http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0569307/ “David McGillivray”. wikipedia.com. 11 July 2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McGillivray_(producer/screenwriter) “The FIlm Makers”. pathetiquefilms.co.uk. 11 July 2012 http://www.pathetiquefilms.co.uk/pages/filmmakers.htm

“Farndale Avenue…Christmas Carol” Notes for Parents

What Parents Need To Know:

This play is a farce, with a more or less irreverent take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The entire cast is played by actors of the opposite gender, adding to the absurdity of the show, and contributing to the style of “Coarse Acting” with which this piece is performed. A British comedy, The Farndale Avenue…Christmas Carol contains Monty Python-esque comedy, and some vague “adult” references. A few references are listed below, to give you an idea of the flavor of the show. This play is recommended for those aged 16 and older.

– Mrs. Reece, with a microphone, exclaims (while the sound cuts in and out) “Oh, it’s working! I’m never awfully sure what to do with these things. I remember I was in Lytham St Annes. . . .had to have it surgically removed. . . . waving it about. . . finally stuck it up the front of his. . . .and naturally you couldn’t hear a word he said.”

– During a reference to an accident at a supermarket involving 27 shopping carts, Mercedes says “It’s Mrs. Van den Berg I feel sorry for. She was on the operating table five hours having that tin of corned beef removed. And for what? Because I can’t see her mounting a lawn mower again.”

– The audience is asked at one point if there “are there any strong men out there who’d like to do some humping after the show? Any takers? We’ve got to unscrew all the seats because the ball room dancers are coming in tomorrow. I’m only planning ahead…” (“Humping” is British term for “carrying something with some exertion,” but surely a double entendre is intended here.)


What Parents and Families Can Discuss:

The idea of purposely acting poorly is intriguing, and begs all kinds of questions about how we define “good art”, and why we personally have the criteria that we do in judging “good” from “bad”. Part of the goal of “Coarse Acting” is exposing the more ridiculous components of the theatrical art form, and it is interesting to ponder why we human beings feel so compelled to act out stories, re-enact experiences, and “become” some other character for a while. At the end of the day, this show is meant to be enjoyed, and not thought about all that critically – it might be just as well to discuss who looked best in drag! For more information and background on the show, please refer to our Curriculum Guide.