P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2006
July 12, 2006
Charlie Chaplin's First Full-Length Comedy to Screen at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Known for being the first ever full-length comedy feature ever made Tillie's Punctured Romance set star Charlie Chaplin on the road to greatness and also starred a who's who of the silent era's comedic greats. The film will screen outdoors on MASS MoCA's 50' screen in Courtyard C accompanied by Tillie's Nightmare Ragtime Band on Saturday, August 12, at 8:30 P.M. Based on a Broadway play, this is a well-plotted comedy which uses some classic devices like the movie within the movie. Chaplin's physical comedy highlights the narrative throughout and the climax, complete with Keystone Cops and pie fight, is an early sign of the routines he would become known for.Historically important as the first feature-length comedy ever produced, Tillie's Punctured Romance is perhaps more noteworthy for its teaming of the greatest silent comedians of the day. Producer/director Mack Sennett brought together all the top stars of Keystone Studios: Charlie Chaplin during his first year in film, the great silent comedienne Mabel Normand, Charley Chase, Chester Conklin, two character actors who worked with Chaplin throughout the teens (Mack Swain and Edgar Kennedy) not to mention the star of the film, Marie Dressler -- and of course the Keystone Kops. Dressler stars as rich but homely farmer's daughter, Tillie; Chaplin plays the handsome cad who woos her and talks her into stealing her father's money and running off to the city to marry him. Once they've made it, Chaplin takes the money and abandons her in favor of his old girlfriend Mabel. Tillie is arrested for vagrancy, but one call to her wealthy Uncle and she's back home. When Chaplin reads in the paper that her Uncle has died and she stands to inherit his riches, he drops Mabel and decides to go for a second try with Tillie and her money. The jaunty syncopation of ragtime, the stately tango, the slightly pompous cakewalk, the doleful melancholy of country blues, and just a hint of the high stepping jazz rhythms (that would soon become so popular) - these are the sounds of Tillie's Nightmare. This five piece ensemble (clarinet, piano, coronet, banjo, and percussion) combines the talents of some of Boston's best musicians to bring to life the classic silent comedy, Tillie's Punctured Romance. Ken Winokur, whose other silent film ensemble Alloy Orchestra, has enlivened the silents for more than a dozen years, put this group together to bring this much neglected music back to the forefront. "There are a lot of other groups performing music for silent films, but none like Tillie's Nightmare. We're attempting to bring the verve and excitement back into the films of the early 20th century. Ragtime and the other popular musical styles of this period had a grip on that generation's imagination. The music was full of energy and innovation. We're hoping to have audiences on the edge of their seats, tapping their feet, ready to spring into the aisles and dance." Doors open at 7:30 PM. The film begins at 8:30 and will be shown outdoors in Courtyard C. In the case of inclement weather the event will be moved inside to the Hunter Center. Food and drink from Lickety Split and the MASS MoCA bar will be available before and during the event. Tickets for Tillie's Punctured Romance are $14 in advance or $18 the day of the show. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 AM - 6 PM every day. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org. MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release