No Theater resumes residency at A.P.E. in Northampton
Tom Mahnken, of South Hadley, rehearsing a play called Caveman by Richard Maxwell. Purchase photo reprints »
left Tom Mahnken, of South Hadley, and Roy Faudree of Florence, rehearsing a play called Caveman by Richard Maxwell. Purchase photo reprints »
Roy Faudree of Florence, rehearsing a play called Caveman by Richard Maxwell. Purchase photo reprints »
‘We like being home” said Roy Faudree, director of No Theater, an experimental group that has performed in Northampton since the late 1970s.
No Theater has been a resident company at Available Potential Enterprises Ltd. (A.P.E.) in Northampton since the late 1970s, but after actively performing there into the late 1990s, the troupe took to the road, traveling from New York to San Francisco, across Europe and to Singapore.
Now the group, founded in 1974 by Faudree and Sheena See, returns to the city with a production of Richard Maxwell’s “Caveman,” which opens Wednesday at the A.P.E. gallery and runs through Feb. 23.
The company ran previews of the play at A.P.E. in 2011, but next month’s performances mark the official return of No Theater to the artist-run, non-profit arts and education organization.
“When we did this in 2011 we saw a lot of people that came in the ’70s,” Faudree said. “It was good to see familiar faces.”
Named “the best-kept secret in experimental theater,” by National Public Radio, No Theater performs mainly on alternative stages, including in converted lofts, tunnels and storefronts. In 1975 it performed “The Elephant Man,” using the storage area beneath a movie house on Pleasant Street in Northampton. It once performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the pine grove behind the Pines Theatre at Look Park in Florence, with the audience seated in bleachers among the trees.
The performance will take place in the A.P.E. gallery, with a limited set, keeping with the group’s tradition of using nontraditional settings for their performances.
“Caveman,” which was written by Richard Maxwell, a playwright and artistic director of the New York City Players, premiered under Maxwell’s direction in 2001 at the SoHo Rep Theatre in New York City. In fact, Faudree says, Maxwell rarely allows other companies to produce his work.
Faudree, who has known Maxwell for years and has attended many of his shows, says he is pleased that the playwright granted No Theater permission to produce the play.
“Maybe it was just the fact that we really respected the work, so he decided to trust us,” he said.
“Caveman” is a one-hour comedy with music that combines Maxwell’s original prerecorded instrumentals, and the cast’s voices.
“They’re not Broadway musical-type tunes, they’re more like inner thoughts,” Faudree said. “Sometimes without any warning a character will start singing a song.”
It opens when a couple is visited in their home by the man’s coworker. He comes to discuss business, but ends up taking a liking to the wife.
“There’s actually a competition that develops between the two men,” Faudree said. “It’s a take on the love triangle.”
He says audiences will be able to relate to the emotions portrayed in “Caveman.” Theater, in general, should be both entertaining for the audience, and thought-provoking, he says.
“They’re bringing a lot of their own experiences; not everyone sees the same play.”
Live performance is an experience, he adds, during which the audience and performers are “sharing the time and space.”
It’s like “choosing between having an apple and an image of an apple,” he said. “Live theater has had impact on society.”
“Caveman” will be performed Feb. 6 to 23, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. at A.P.E. at 126 Main St., Northampton.
The cast includes Roy Faudree, Sheena See and Tom Mahnken.
Admission is $10 and seating is limited, so reservations are recommended. To reserve, call A.P.E. at 586-5553 or visit apearts.org.
After its run at A.P.E., No Theater will perform “Caveman” at The Wooster Group’s theatre, The Performing Garage, in New York City.