Earlier this weekend my roommate, Mer, and I decided to venture out to Arcata High School to see The Phantom of the Opera in its original silent movie form accompanied by an orchestra. I was not sure what to expect one, because the orchestra was comprised of high school students and two, because I have never attended a silent movie. I was really concerned, most of all, that I had coerced Mer into coming with me and it was going to be a mind numbing evening filled with out of tune oboe and squeaky clarinets. I'm a bit of a snob. Lucky for me it exceeded both of our expectations.
There was something simplistic and perfect about watching a silent movie. The text narration was far more manageable than today's equivalent; that coming from someone who really enjoys reading. The film mostly relied on the audience's ability to read the actors gestures and facial expressions. It was almost interactive compared to the spoon-fed plots to which my generation is accustomed . And it seems I made a premature judgement about the musical abilities of the Arcata High School students. The music was enjoyable. Not one deafening squeak met my ears.
Mer and myself were envious of the turn of the century dresses. There we were in a tiny auditorium watching The Phantom, who looked like the love child of Lurch and Droopy-Dog, in our dark jeans, sweaters, and heals. We were almost too fancy for the occasion by the standards of the beaming parents that surround us. Yet there was Mary Philbin on the screen donning lace and silk draped about her as only we could imagine having. And we both thought, every now and again, maybe it would be nice to put on a nice dress and go on about our lives without having the whole world stop because we are not wearing sweats or jeans. Just a thought.
I could come to only one conclusion given the whole evening; we were clearly not born into the right decade, not even close.