Because Kharmful Charms of Daniil Kharmsis billed as "A Theatrical Incident with Curious Music, Unfamiliar Singing and Improbable Dancing," I'm calling it absurdist opera, which would probably make the crazy Russian surrealist Daniil Kharms pleased as punch. Kharms, nee Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov, was born in St. Petersburg in 1905 and earned notoriety as bona fide servant of the absurd in theater, literature and anything else that caught his fancy. In 1928, in response to the new movement of Russian Futurism, Kharms founded OBERIU, the Union of Real Art, a collective whose productions were distinguished by antirational verse and non-linear performance. He soon became Leningrad's most notorious eccentric, known for his flamboyant attire and irrational behavior. For instance, Kharms professed a lifelong hatred of kids -- even though he was perhaps most famous for the many stories and books he wrote for children. Kharms was eventually arrested and imprisoned, and died in a psychiatric ward in 1942. Now, ARTEL pays him homage with "an evening of not-so-innocent commotions and antics ... all set to a rousing, live musical score." Note: "Mustachioed people will be rewarded with a cup of soup. Ladies with mustaches will be doubly rewarded."
Fridays, Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 19. Continues through March 20, 2010