Perth band Viola Dana to provide live score to Bassendean Outdoor Community Cinema screening

Members of Viola Dana: Peter Guazzelli of North Perth and Kathy Potter of West Perth. Picture: David Baylis
Members of Viola Dana: Peter Guazzelli of North Perth and Kathy Potter of West Perth. Picture: David Baylis

FROM Toronto to Bassendean, award-winning Perth band Viola Dana will be performing an original score to accompany a classic silent film at the Bassendean Outdoor Community Cinemas for the first time.

The band, comprising violist Kathy Potter, drummer Pete Guazzelli, guitarist Jozef Grech and cellist Tristen Parr, has taken their live score that accompanies Buster Keaton’s 1926 film, The General, to the Toronto Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image in New York and Ottowa.

The score features American Folk tunes, Steve Reich-inspired train evocations and jazz improvisation which helps bring Keaton’s film to life.

Viola Dana will be opening with a live score for Cyril Jackson Senior Campus students’ short film, Well Played, before their main set at the Town of Bassendean and Bassendean Outdoor Community Cinemas’ free Silent Screen Live Sounds event on February 24.

Guazzelli, of North Perth, said it was great to be part of the community and involve Cyril Jackson in the show, which could be played “anywhere where trains ran”.

“There is a huge appreciation for the work of Buster Keaton all over the world,” he said.

“I think there was an appreciation for our efforts to work with that and give it a new interpretation.”

Members of Viola Dana Peter Guazzelli and Kathy Potter. Picture: David Baylis

Potter, of West Perth, said the film was set during the American civil war and was based on a true story of a train being “train jacked”.

“There is a lot of action but there is also a romantic thread going through it as he has to save his love who has been kidnapped,” she said.

“It is also a comedy because Buster Keaton was amazing at doing all these physical stunts without having to use words.

“The fact that this is a free event as well makes it more accessible to everybody and it is a film that actually could be appreciated by lots of different aged groups.”

Guazelli said the band’s goal was to keep writing scores for great films and working with communities to share the love of silent film and music.

Book at www.communitycinemas.com.au, as there will be a limited number of entry tickets available at the gate.

The event will be held at the Bassendean Outdoor Community Cinemas, with gates opening at 6.30pm and the screening starting at 7.45pm.

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