Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In Kharms Way Bits n Pieces

Kharms Way
explores the outrageous, absurdly
comical, occasionally obscene, and ultimately sublime world of Russia’s iconic
master of the absurd, Daniil Kharms (1905-42).

Featuring The Madison String Quartet
and actors Neil Redfield and Cristina Ramos. With original music by Ray Luedeke
on texts by Russian writer Daniil Kharms, as directed by Courtney Laine Self,
In Kharms Way will be performed at 7:30pm
April 29 at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York.
A Russian vodka (or Eastern European
wine) reception will begin at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 29, with the live
musical / theatrical performance beginning at 8pm, all taking place at the
Tenri Cultural Institute of New York (43A West 13th Street). Tickets are $20 in
advance online at, $25 at the door.

For those unable to
attend the Friday, April 29 performance, consider attending the dress rehearsal for In Kharms Way,
Thursday, April 28 at 12 noon at the National Opera Center, Charles MacKay
Studio, 330 Seventh Ave. NY. Vodka tasting at 11:30 am.

Composer Ray Luedeke has crafted 19 of
Daniil Kharms original vignettes into a five act play for 2 actors and set the
play to music for string quartet. The on-stage string quartet becomes a virtual
"third actor", at times even participating with text. Both actors
claim to be an incarnation of the avant-garde, futurist writer of non-linear
plays, anti-rational verse, and parables for adult-children, Daniil Kharms.
(Kharms, himself - who dressed like an English dandy, smoked a calabash pipe,
and often behaved illogically in public, was eventually arrested by Stalin and
died of starvation in a Soviet prison.)
Virtually unknown, except as a writer
of children's literature, until 1970 and "glasnost" in the Soviet
Union, Kharms' reputation has since grown exponentially, as his adult works
have become available. In present day Russia, Kharms is a cultural hero. Mikhail
Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe have had world wide success with their version of
Kharms' The Old Woman, as directed by
Robert Wilson.

The Music

The music for In Kharms way is a
showpiece for string quartet and showcases the enigmatic and sometimes bizarre
world of Daniil Kharmsa with a variety of textures, techniques, and styles. You
may hear references to the music of Mendelssohn, of Beethoven, of Josquin
Desprez, of Brahms, of Leos Janecek, and even of John Phillip Sousa - all in
service to an absurd text. Or is there a method to the seeming madness of
Daniil Kharms?

Afire Opera-Cabaret
Music as Theater".

Begun in Canada in 2007 by composer Ray Luedeke and moving to NYC in 2010,
Voice Afire productions include Butterfly's
, a re-invention for 7 performers of Puccini's opera; Close Embrace. a tango cabaret for 8
performers; My Life with Pablo Neruda,
a cabaret-opera base on the life of the Chilean poet; The Magical Singing Drum, a chamber opera on an African theme; The Art of Love / Into the Labyrinth for
2 pianos, actor, and visuals; and Kafka
for string quartet and 2 actors.