Never before has Richard Maxwell, the celebrated experimental playwright, granted rights to a liberal arts college to perform one of his works.
The recipient of a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award and a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Maxwell was persuaded by guest theater artist Roy Faudree to allow the Trinity College Department of Theater and Dance to stage “Caveman.”
A blunt, wistful story about a woman and two men, “Caveman” had its premiere in April 2001 at Soho Rep in New York City. It was among Maxwell’s early successes. Summing up the play, New York Times chief drama critic Ben Brantley wrote, “No other American theater artist working today manages to elicit such complex responses from such seemingly simple material.”
“Richard Maxwell is pretty guarded about his pieces being done,” Faudree said, emphasizing that the writer always directs his own plays. Faudree has recent experience working with Maxwell, however, having rehearsed and performed an untitled work-in-progress during a Whitney Biennial residency in New York City earlier this year.
“What Richard’s trying to do is strip theater down to the basics, what interests people about other people,” Faudree says. “It’s about human behavior, what curious creatures we are.”
“The Department of Theater and Dance at Trinity has long strived to maintain a relationship with what is taking place now in the field of performance,” said department chairperson Mitchell Polin. “By bringing in Roy Faudree, a hugely significant artist for the last twenty years, who brought with him the possibility to perform Richard Maxwell’s play, we jumped at this unique opportunity.”
“Caveman” features Molly Belsky ’16, Malcolm Evans ’13, and Connor Sheridan ’16. Sabra Wilson ’14 is stage manager and Stetson Miller ’16 is assistant stage manager.
Richard Maxwell is the artistic director of New York City Players (founded 1999). His latest play, “Neutral Hero,” will be presented at The Kitchen in New York City, October 18 - November 3. This year, in addition to the Doris Duke Artist Award, he received an OBIE for his direction of “Early Plays” by Eugene O’Neill, a collaboration with The Wooster Group; and was an invited artist in the Whitney Biennial.
His plays have been commissioned by Festival d’Automne, Paris; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; Project Arts Centre, Dublin; the Barbican Centre, London; Theater Bonn; the Wexner Center, Columbus; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Performance Space 122, The Kitchen, and Soho Rep in New York. Maxwell is a resident writer at New Dramatists. His video works have been exhibited at Greene Naftali Gallery, White Columns, and Anthology Film Archives. Maxwell studied acting at Illinois State University. In Chicago, he was a founder of the Cook County Theater Department.
Roy Faudree is a director and actor who began No Theater in 1974 with Sheena See. His original works for the stage include “Road to Hell,” “Dupe,” “Louis Lou I,” “Apache,” “Photoplay,” “Dust Bowl,” “Last Resort,” “Left/Right,” “ICMen,” “I Love the Brain,” “DFS (de fiance suction),” “The Glass Mayonnaise Jar,” “The Elephant Man,” “Hotel Motel/Home Movie,” and “No Smoking.”
He performs in several Wooster Group productions, including “Hamlet,” “North Atlantic,” “House/Lights,” “Fish Story,” “The Hairy Ape,” “Brace Up! (Three Sisters),” and “To You, The Birdie! (Phédre).” He has designed and directed several musical stage productions for the Young@Heart in Northampton, Massachusetts, and operas for the MIT Media Lab, Cambridge,Massachusetts; the Bunkamura Cultural Center, Tokyo, Japan; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; the Ruhr Triennale, Duisburg, Germany; and the Academy of Music, Northampton, Massachusetts.
No Theater has created new works for the Manchester International Festival, Manchester, England; the Victoria Theater, Ghent, Belgium; Maison des Arts de Créteil, Paris, France; Spiel Art, Munich, Germany; and Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.
Running time is one hour, with no intermission.
Admission is free; seating is limited, however, so reservations are strongly recommended. For tickets, please call the Austin Arts Center box office at 860-297-2199. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. and two hours prior to events.