Montreal Dickens Fellowship
for the best of times

February 4, 2014


DICKENS BIRTHDAY LUNCHEON
11:30 - 2:00 p.m. at L'Usine de Spaghetti Restaurant, 273 rue Saint Paul Est.
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Andrew Macdougall (as Charles Dickens)
reads Dr. Marigold's Prescriptions
To celebrate Dickens' 202nd birthday, 25 of us gathered in the lovely back room (called "Place Dickens") of the l'Usine de Spaghetti in Old Montreal. It was a sunny, relatively mild day (-7 C.). The quaint cobblestone streets were snow-covered. Inside it was roast toasty. Dickens is said to have written notes for his works at this very site during his visit to Montreal in 1842. His portrait hangs at the entrance. The stone-walled room, decorated with antiques and collectibles from Montreal's past and lined with shelves and shelves of antique books, was the perfect venue for our festivities.

Our tables were arranged in a large "U", with our guest reader Andrew Macdougall at the top and center, near Ellie (our president), Sylvia (vice-president and webmaster) and Louise (secretary and photographer). Programmes, bookmarks and chocolates graced each place setting. Costumes (a variety of Victorian hats and gloves) were provided for those who wished to dress up. Ellie began by recapping the years events. She announced that this spring (April 5) the London's Dickens Fellowship Council will formally be considering our application for official status. Louise then gave a toast to Charles Dickens.

As we munched on crusty rolls and garlic toasts, salads from the salad bar, complementary meatballs and then our individual meals (all served quietly and most efficiently), we settled in for Andrew's reading of "Dr. Marigold's Prescriptions". Dressed in Victorian attire, in the persona of Dickens himself, Andrew gave a spirited and emotional reading of this short story which appeared in the Christmas edition of Dickens' journal "All the Year Round" in 1865. His performance was amazing and we all enjoyed it very much.

For desert we were treated to a wonderful birthday cake decorated with a marvellous image of Dickens. Many thanks to Louise for ordering the cake (it was from Patisserie Brossard). It was delicious!

Sylvia then gave a toast to "The Immortal Memory" and to Ellie for her enthusiastic leadership.

We then raffled off 6 prizes raising $65.00 for the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children's Hospital.

Our delicious luncheon ended with a lively discussion of "The Invisible Woman" which we had recently viewed as a group.

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon. Thanks to everyone who attended. Special thanks to Andrew, Ellie, our toasters Sylvia and Louise (who arranged the venue and the cake), all our lift providers and the excellent staff of the "L'Usine de Spaghetti" who made us very comfortable with their excellent service!

Follow link to view photos from Dickens' Birthday Luncheon Feb. 4/14

December 8, 2013

John D. Huston

The Magic of Christmas Past

Huston's reprisal of "A Christmas Carol" was a big hit for the Holidays!"

Our John Huston event was a great success! The 36 membered audience were mesmerized and thoroughly entertained by his spell-binding performance. He really looked the part, even more so than last year! It was as if the great author himself was on the stage. It was amazing how, without a single note or script, he "became" Charles Dickens himself as well as all the characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim. Ellie's introduction and reading of "Figgy Pudding", describing her experience of the holidays as a Jewish child in Montreal was very well received. Several audience members suggested she submit it to the Gazette or Pauline Marois! (in fact, after the performance, an audience member wrote to CJAD radio asking them to have her read it on air!)

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Our bakers outdid themselves, selling their beautifully presented wares along with a hot (alcohol-free) Christmas cider and other beverages, earning a wonderful $136.00 for the Tiny Tim fund of the Children's Hospital, just from their sales alone! All profits after our operating expenses will also be donated to this fund. Thank-you, Sylvia for the magical background Christmas music that seemed to come from nowhere! It really added to the ambiance!

About 30 minutes into the performance, a CTV News cameraman appeared unannounced! There was a short but very nice segment about our event on the CTV news that very evening! follow link to view clip on CTV news

Five door prizes, including a copy "A Christmas Carol" illustrated by Lynch, three C.D.s of "Two for Tea"'s piano duets of Dickensian music, a lovely candle (thank-you Judith) and a poinsettia plant were given away as door prizes. John Huston also sold several copies of his C.D. "Feasts and Spirits".

The Fellowship presented John Huston with a copy of Dickens "Life of Our Lord" which Dickens wrote for his children. He was very appreciative.

Many, many thanks to Katherine, Margaret, Judith, Donna, Sherry, Louise and Sylvia for all your help! It really was a team effort!

Follow links: to see photos taken at John Huston Event, read Ellie's Figgy Pudding, find Ellie's cider recipe, and visit the Tiny Tim Fund site.
If you wish to have a recipe for an alcoholic punch, check out this website: How to Make Charles Dickens' Holiday Punch

December 9, 2013


On the following afternoon, celebrated Dickens impersonator, John Huston, gave a wonderful one hour performance of "A Christmas Carol" to 30 or so residents of Manoir Westmount (a facility for seniors adjacent to the Westmount Library). Ellie and four other "Dickensians" were also present. Simona Buth, the Manoir's recreational director, gave a brief introduction.

Huston's performance was electrifying as usual. It was amazing how he could condense the material (down to the last second!) without losing the flow of the story. Apparently this was closer to the version Dickens often gave in his own "readings". His performance was very well received by the captivated audience. Ellie gave a shout out about the Tiny Tim Fund and Simona plans to post their notice up in the residence. We were all invited to a lovely tea afterwards, but Huston and Ellie had to leave immediately for the train station (he had another show in Ottawa).

A good time was had by all! A big thank-you to John Huston for extending his stay to do this Fellowship sponsored show. Afterwards Ellie gave all our leftover goodies from Sunday's performance to Sun Youth.
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THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS PAST


JOHN D. HUSTON PRESENTS
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL

with an introduction by Ellie Clavier-Rothstein

December 8, 2013 Sunday 2:00-4:00 pm


(Doors open at 1:30 pm)


The upstairs hall of Atwater Public Library, 1200 Atwater directly across the street from the Atwater Metro Station. Use the side entrance (a prominent poster will direct you there).

Tickets:
$25 General.
$20 for seniors, students and members of Literary societies.
$15 for Dickens Fellowship members.

Tickets available at the door. CASH ONLY
Refreshments and Door Prizes will be offered
All profits to benefit the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children's Hospital

"powerful one-man theatre…in the hands of a master storyteller.”
The National Post

For the past twenty Decembers, veteran solo performer, John D. Huston has packed his trunk, grown his beard and trundled off to towns and cities re-enacting the tours and performances of Victorian author, Charles Dickens to full houses and standing ovations. Like his 19th century counterpart, Huston performs A Christmas Carol telling the story and playing all the characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim performing in theatres, Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, Saskatoon's The Refinery, and the 4th Stage of Ottawa's National Arts Centre among others, to historic buildings and private homes. His astonishing tour de force presentation has been described as “mesmerizing,” “powerful” and “Christmas magic” by reviewers across the country.
“Vivid and lively...a consummate storyteller…mesmerising.”
Winnipeg Free Press

This year, Huston will play his 500th performance, in addition to the 20th anniversary of his first performance. "I've been very fortunate, after 20 years of touring I'm still in love with this wonderful story and these magnificent characters."

“Captivating…from start to finish.”
The Ottawa Citizen

"I loved this production and urge all to see it."
Ottawa Sun

“remarkable... Huston easily becomes the range of Dickens’ incredible characters.”
The Hamilton Spectator
“A Christmas Carol à la Dickens”
The Globe and Mail

"The audience and I share the story," Huston says, "they bring their memories of it, from movies, from theatre, from reading the book, even from seeing me in previous years. Together we create a memory, a new layer of the story as we revisit it together. This can only work, at least for me, in a cozy venue. Dickens liked his audiences to imagine they were assembled in a friend's house hearing the story told and I ask my listeners to do the same." Huston bears a striking resemblance to the author; upon meeting one of Dickens' great great grandchildren he was asked, "are you a relative of mine?"

November 4, 2013

Dr. Goldie Morgentaler

History of the Jew in English Literature

Monday evening, Nov.4, the Montreal Dickens Fellowship hosted Dr. Goldie Morgentaler, professor of English and of Jewish studies at Lethbridge University and current President of the Dickens Society. She gave an excellent hour long talk on the History of the Jew in British society and the portrayal of the Jew in English Literature. Her lecture gave a wonderful historical perspective, touching on Judas, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, Thackeray and George Elliot. She then zeroed in on Fagin and Oliver Twist, making a strong case that Dickens was indeed an Anti-Semite in his own right notwithstanding the prevalent racial prejudice of his time. Even his attempts at reparation, when criticized for denigrating Jews in the character of Fagin, i.e. the creation of the ultra good Riah in Our Mutual Friend, reflected his ignorance and lack of sensitivity and insight when faced with this issue. We all received a handout with relevant quotes from Oliver Twist and the Merchant of Venice and numerous illustrations of Jews in literature.

A lively discussion followed, highlighting Dr. Morgentaler's appreciation of Dickens's genius as a writer despite his prejudice and personal failings.There was a very good attendance (upwards of 45 people). Dr. Morgentaler was very well received.

Dr. Ellie Clavier-Rothstein, President of the Montreal Dickens Fellowship, reviewed the Fellowship history, current schedule and upcoming events. As usual, a large display of books about Dickens was on display. Notices of our upcoming John Huston Christmas show were given to all attendees.

Many thanks to Sylvia Rabinovitch and Louise G. de Tonnancour for their efforts in distributing notices and their delicious goodies! Thanks to Flavious,of the Westmount Library for helping set up the chairs, refreshments, microphone, etc. and of course many, many thanks to Goldie for sharing her extensive knowledge with us!

Follow link to see additional photos: An evening with Dr. Morgentaler
Follow link to see Dr. Morgentaler's handouts

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November 4, 2013 (Monday)

Dickens's Fagin and the History

of the Jew in English Literature

Time:

Place:
7:00-9:00 P.M.

Westmount Public Library
Cost:
cost: TBA
Dr. Goldie Morgentaler, President of the Dickens Society this year, will present her talk: "Dickens's Fagin and the History of the Jew in English Literature." This talk will give a short history of how Jews have traditionally been depicted in English literature and how Dickens's depiction of Fagin fits into that tradition. In the nineteenth century sympathetic portraits of Jews began appearing in the works of non-Jewish writers, such as Walter Scott. The question then becomes where does Fagin fit into the split in Victorian literature between positive and negative portrayals of Jews.


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June 4, 2013

Victorian Afternoon Tea

Time:

Place:
2:30-4:30 P.M.

Westmount Public Library ->
Story-telling Garden (weather permitting)
Westmount Room (in case of rain)
Cost:
A $10 donation is suggested.
Profits benefit the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children’s Hospital

Victorian apparel, hats, gloves, etc. are welcome!

The “Golden Stagers” will be performing a selection of Dickens’ works.
We will be sharing our final thoughts on “Pickwick” and briefly previewing our book for next year: “Oliver Twist”

Tea, sandwiches, scones, cookies and cakes will be served. Guests are encouraged to bring their own china teacups, saucers and cake plates. Prizes will be raffled off.

Please reserve a ticket by:
e-mailing - (clavroth@sympatico.ca) or
calling me - ( 514-487-9975) (514-592-2166) or
pick one up in person from me at M.C.L.L.

Your donations may be made to me in person or given when you pick up your ticket at the event.

Please let me know As Soon as Possible! if you plan to attend.

If you can help with baking, setting up, tickets, possible costume rentals, etc., please let me know as soon as possible.

I am really excited about this event! I hope to see you there!
Yours in Fellowship,
Ellie

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February 5, 2013


DICKENS BIRTHDAY LUNCHEON
12:00 - 2:00 p.m. at L'Usine de Spaghetti Restaurant, 273 rue Saint Paul Est.
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Please join us as we celebrate the 201st anniversary of Dickens' birth (Feb.7th) at the l'Usine de Spaghetti Restaurant, in Old Montreal (514-866-0963). We have reserved their lovely back room complete with antique bookshelves and old stone walls and decorated with scenes of Montreal in days gone by. They even have a picture of Dickens and mention him on every menu! We will order our meals separately but we will provide birthday cake and have a toast to the "Immortal Memory".

Jean Carrière, one of our Montreal Fellowship members and a Golden Stager, has adapted Chapter 33 (modern chapter 34) of Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers" into a three-act play. For our entertainment, the Golden Stagers will premiere their adaptation of the great Bardell vs Pickwick trial scene. Follow link to view script: MEMORABLE TRIAL OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK.

December 12, 2012


A review of "Dickens' Women"
A One Woman Show Performed by Miriam Margolyes
Toronto, Ontario

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On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Sylvia and I travelled to Toronto to see popular British theatre, television and film actress Miriam Margolyes (best known for her appearance as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films but also a life-long Dickens enthusiast and narrator of the excellent B.B.C. documentary "Dickens in America") perform her Olivier-nominated one-woman show, "Dickens' Women". Ms. Margolyes took on the personae of a large number of female characters from many of Dickens works, using her amazing dramatic gifts to truly bring them to life. Fascinating to all and particularly to any Dickens lover, she interwove Dickens' own relationships with women throughout his life into the performance, thus giving us a glimpse of his complex and often controversial personal history.

We were both completely blown away by her talent! Adding to the magic of the evening, I had been corresponding with M.M.( as she calls herself) just before our trip and had arranged to meet her personally after the show to talk to her about our endeavors to reinstitute our Montreal branch. She was extremely gracious and interested in hearing about us. I thanked her for her wonderful work in bringing Dickens to everyone! She expressed regret at not coming to Montreal as part of this North American tour, but suggested that she would LOVE to visit us sometime in the future. She was very positive when I asked if we could keep up our correspondence and said she would be pleased to hear continuing news of our efforts! She signed a copy of her book "Dickens' Women" for me which I will be glad to share with our members.
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Jian Ghomeshi of CBC radio interviewed Miriam Margolyes on December 12, 2012. Miriam tells Jian about her enduring love of the works of Charles Dickens. Link to CBC interview

Note: Today, Dec.16, I received an e-copy of "The BuzFuz", the excellent newsletter of the Philadelphia Fellowship branch. There is a bold headline within (that was suggested to them by Miriam Margolyes!!!) announcing our COMEBACK!!! Thank-you Miriam for your support and encouragement!!
 

December 7, 2012


"Huston's Christmas Carol a Hit for the Holidays!"

Our John Huston event was a great success! The 48 membered audience were mesmerized and thoroughly entertained by his spell-binding performance. He really looked the part! It was as if the great author himself was on the stage. It was amazing how, without a single note or script, he "became" Charles Dickens himself as well as all the characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim. Ellie's introduction and reading of "Figgy Pudding", describing her experience of the holidays as a Jewish child in Montreal was very well received.

Our bakers outdid themselves, selling their beautifully presented wares along with a hot (alcohol-free) Christmas cider and other beverages, earning a wonderful $150.00 for the Tiny Tim fund of the Children's Hospital, just from their sales alone! All profits after our operating expenses will also be donated to this fund. Five door prizes, including deluxe copies of "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations" were awarded.

Many thanks to Harriet, Margaret, Judith, Maura, ZsuZsi, Louise(photography) and Sylvia for all your help! We have already booked Mr. Huston for December 8th and 9th next year!


Follow links: to see photos taken at John Huston Event, read Ellie's Figgy Pudding, find Ellie's cider recipe, and visit the Tiny Tim Fund site.
If you wish to have a recipe for an alcoholic punch, check out this website: How to Make Charles Dickens' Holiday Punch

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THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS PAST


JOHN D. HUSTON PRESENTS
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL

with an introduction by Ellie Clavier-Rothstein reading "Figgy Pudding"

Dec. 7, 2012 - Montreal, P.Q. - 7:30-9:30 pm


(Doors open at 7:00 pm)



The upstairs hall of Atwater Public Library, 1200 Atwater directly across the street from the Atwater Metro Station. Use the side entrance (a prominent poster will direct you there).

Tickets: $25 General. $20 for seniors, students and members of Literary societies. $15 for Dickens Fellowship members.
Tickets available at the door. CASH ONLY
It's my great pleasure to return to Montreal after an absence of 6 years; or in Mr. Dickens' case, 170 years. It is an especial pleasure to perform at the invitation of the newly resurrected Montreal Dickens Fellowship. The upstairs Hall at the Atwater Library is a cozy atmospheric space and the Fellowship, in Dickensian style, is donating the profits to benefit the Tiny Tim Fund of the Montreal Children's Hospital.
Refreshments will be available. Door prizes will be offered.

Any questions may be directed to Dr. Ellie Clavier-Rothstein at clavroth@sympatico.ca

"powerful one-man theatre…in the hands of a master storyteller.”
The National Post

For the past twenty Decembers, veteran solo performer, John D. Huston has packed his trunk, grown his beard and trundled off to towns and cities re-enacting the tours and performances of Victorian author, Charles Dickens to full houses and standing ovations. Like his 19th century counterpart, Huston performs A Christmas Carol telling the story and playing all the characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim performing in theatres, Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, Saskatoon's The Refinery, and the 4th Stage of Ottawa's National Arts Centre among others, to historic buildings and private homes. His astonishing tour de force presentation has been described as “mesmerizing,” “powerful” and “Christmas magic” by reviewers across the country.
“Vivid and lively...a consummate storyteller…mesmerising.”
Winnipeg Free Press

This year, Huston will play his 500th performance, in addition to the 20th anniversary of his first performance. "I've been very fortunate, after 20 years of touring I'm still in love with this wonderful story and these magnificent characters."

“Captivating…from start to finish.”
The Ottawa Citizen

"I loved this production and urge all to see it."
Ottawa Sun

“remarkable... Huston easily becomes the range of Dickens’ incredible characters.”
The Hamilton Spectator
“A Christmas Carol à la Dickens”
The Globe and Mail

"The audience and I share the story," Huston says, "they bring their memories of it, from movies, from theatre, from reading the book, even from seeing me in previous years. Together we create a memory, a new layer of the story as we revisit it together. This can only work, at least for me, in a cozy venue. Dickens liked his audiences to imagine they were assembled in a friend's house hearing the story told and I ask my listeners to do the same." Huston bears a striking resemblance to the author; upon meeting one of Dickens' great great grandchildren he was asked, "are you a relative of mine?"
For more information contact John D. Huston at 306-290-5794 or jdhuston@mts.net
website: www.dickensperformer.com