As a musical actor, Wesley Frugé has performed on stages all across the United States. What he saw from his vantage beneath the kliegs startled him: audiences full of olds. Olds are great! Soon, if we're not already, and if we're lucky, we will all be olds. But, due to changing demographics and the natural expiration of human life, it turns out that appealing just to olds isn't a sustainable business model. You need the youths to fill houses, and you need them to do it on a consistent basis, or else theater will go the way of the olds.
In response to his fear for the future of theater, Frugé founded and now artistically directs Forward Flux, a local production company that champions brand-new work from women and artists of color.
This year, they're staging eight plays that are responsive to that mission and producing several sidebar events that aim to bust down the walls between the theater company and theater audiences.
This "engagement programming," as Frugé calls it, includes the Flux Salon, which is a staged play reading that sometimes evolves (devolves?) into a dance party. That event shares its name with Flux's monthly podcast, which gives listeners a peek behind the curtain of the theater world. Previous guests include Chisa Hutchinson (She Like Girls) and Lauren Yee (The Hatmaker's Wife).
There's also the Speakeasy series, a pop-up performance in a secret location that features a theatrical guest. Past performers include Sara Porkalob, Cheeky Diamondz, and Justin Huertas. And once a year, along with a group from NYC, Flux hosts "What the Float," a mobile silent disco party led by a local artist.
I'm interested in all of that, but I'm also interested in how Frugé spends his time around the city. He's been here for only three years, after all.
If you could stage a play in or on any building in Seattle, where would you stage it and what would the play be?
I love theater in unconventional spaces, and I'm particularly obsessed with living-room theater. For our Salon series, we've produced in 15 different venues in Seattle (from houseboats to restaurants and bars), but I'm dying to find a raw loft space that we can convert into a pop-up performance venue with couches and cool art throughout. I love new work, so the play would be something completely new. But not to worry—you'd love it.
Is there a touristy Seattle thing that you love to do, no matter what the haters say?
Fremont is my fave. I love the troll, and Gas Works Park, and just wandering around all the darling shops (and, of course, eating at Revel, #thebest).
What's your go-to karaoke song?
Despite the fact that I've sung and danced in countless musicals around the country (or maybe because of it), karaoke is my own personal version of hell. Like, I hate it so much. My husband loves it, though, and he is occasionally successful at getting me to join. He sings a clutch version of everything, but my heart melts when he delivers Marvin Gaye.
Where's the most romantic place in Seattle?
It's rainy outside—and it will continue to be rainy outside. Where do you go to beat the SADs?
I never drank coffee until I moved to Seattle, and now I'm like a full on coffee-shop fiend (Kaladi Brothers is my go-to). Caffeine is the best. Also: Palm Springs, bitch. Alaska Airlines has killer deals, so the sun is never too far away.