|Dan Connor, Leslie Windom (obscured), Mollie Corcoran, and Brian Lange read Green Whales (J Reese)|
Despite people sometimes opining that there is a lack of play reading opportunities in Seattle, there are more reading series than you might think. And in recent months, a few more have cropped up. One of the opportunities is the new Forward Flux Salon.
Forward Flux Productions started in New York City in 2010 and launched a new play in 2012, FriendAndy.com, written by Wesley Frugé, about a blogger whose work starts to go viral. Another new play in 2013, Robot Songs, is about a robot who would rather write pop songs than destroy the human race. But not all of their work is technology-based. Their mission is to “connect people with art in unexpected ways. We challenge the boundaries of tradition by reimagining the audience experience.”
The creators, Wesley Frugé, Karesia Batan, and Rafael Landeiro expanded to Seattle in 2014 when Wesley moved here and efforts continue in NYC.
The Salon is the first event in Seattle, with more developments to come. Wesley says, “I moved to Seattle one year ago after living in NYC for eight years. I'm so excited to be a part of this vibrant community, and I really feel that there is an amazing opportunity in this city to invest in new art. We are now operating from both coasts.”
They will export the Salon concept to NYC next year. A Salon was held October 7, 2014, the fifth reading they have done in 2014. Another is planned for December.
The Salon is invite only (email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite), and you never quite know where it will be held. Last night, it was held at Fremont Wines along with a special art display by Sidney M. Pertl. It was an edgy play, Green Whales by Lia Romeo. “Karen is a 38 year old philosophy professor with a rare chromosomal disorder that makes her look like she's in her early teens. As a result, she has trouble meeting men – until her alcoholic sister Joanna decides to set her up on a date with a pedophile.” It was darkly funny and challenged a lot of preconceived notions of what a play should be “about.”
Wesley says, “The Salon is all about cultivating an audience who understands the value in investing in the voices of tomorrow. We recently did a national call for plays, and have received nearly 400 submissions (and counting). Green Whales is the first in a series of three Salons that will feature female playwrights. But the Salon is not just about plays, it's about immersing yourself in art, and connecting with new people… I facilitate (the opportunity for) Salon members – you can't leave the Salon without meeting someone new.” After the reading, there is a discussion about the subject matter of the play.
In NYC, they developed an artists' residency program collaborate:create. An intense 21 day process brings artists together across disciplines, and asks them one socially relevant question. They answer by creating a brand new work (play / dance / painting / installation / anything), and those works are showcased at the end of the three weeks in an exhibition / art party.
Wesley has more plans for the future. “The idea is that the Salon will continue to grow. We will have new interesting spaces to host us, and amazing new voices to hear. In addition to the Salon, Forward Flux will also bring collaborate:create to Seattle, and we are making plans to (fully) produce a new play. Our full season will be announced in January.” If this sounds like fun to you, email Wesley and get an invite to this exciting new development.