The Madison String Quartet & Voice Afire

In Kharms Way

Kharms painting Madison String Quartet

A Unique Combination of Chamber Music and Music Theater

Featuring The Madison String Quartet and actors Neil Redfield and Cristina Ramos with original music by Ray Luedeke and directed by Courtney Laine Self, In 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).

Daniil Kharms

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.
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?

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