By Jim Reed/SMN
Sept. 16-17 finds the restored Tybee Post Theater launching its first Silent Film Fest, which will include two nights’ worth of vintage silent movies, with live musical accompaniment by acclaimed pianist, organist and historian Dennis James.
Since 1964, this American multi-instrumentalist has played “a pivotal role in the international revival of silent films presented with period-authentic live music,” and has done so across the globe, utilizing piano, theater organ, chamber ensembles and full symphony orchestras. He follows the approach used by the original silent film accompanists, meaning that he views the movie while it is being projected and plays along with the film, taking care to cue his music exactly with the action and emotion being conveyed, in real time.
This is a fascinating lost art that he and a handful of others in our modern times are striving to maintain and promote. Each night’s 8 p.m. program runs about two hours in length, with the first night including several shorts by iconic silent film comedians Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, and the second night featuring a “fully staged early cinema program,” adding guest vocalists Jared Hall and Jane Ogle, and focusing on the full-length silent feature from 1928, “Show People.” Tickets are just $15 in advance each night, with discount passes available now at www.tybeeposttheater.org.
Honestly, folks, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Kudos to local musician, instructor and concert promoter Ricardo Ochoa for organizing this very special and unusual cinema and music event at one of our area’s most wonderful new venues. Save those dates if you can.