By Sue Moore
Revelry Theatre Company is dedicated to renewing community theatre in the south Kalamazoo-north St. Joseph county area, said Leigh Fryling, artistic director for this new endeavor. The group’s first production, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, is scheduled at the Vicksburg Community Center at 6:30 p.m. on the weekend of Sept. 22-24 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 24.
The Oscar Wilde play was first performed in February, 1895 at St James’s Theatre in London. Fryling invites the public to join them for some wild Wilde in this steampunk-inspired version of the classic. “This isn’t your great-great-great-great grandmother’s version, as we include robot butlers, bionic arms, cucumber sandwiches, and gear-bedecked shenanigans. Buy yourself a traditional Victorian Creme Tea at concessions, sit back in a comfy chair, and enjoy an irreverent evening of romantic exploits,” she said.
“We seek to build community, push the envelope, explore new artistic territory, hold up the mirror to ourselves and our local society and have a really ridiculous amount of fun doing it,” Fryling pointed out when referring to her newest endeavor. The name for Revelry Theatre came right from Fryling’s heart, she explained. “It is the overwhelming sensation of joy that we experience when we are doing something that we love and the more traditional meaning of a wild celebration.”
Fryling returned to Vicksburg after several years in Canada where she owned and operated a much lauded youth theatre company in London, Ontario and Duncan, Vancouver Island B.C. She worked part time at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center and then was hired by the school system from which she graduated in 2005 to substitute teach. She studied theatre performance at Western Michigan University, specializing in directing. She is now working to re-invigorate the local arts and culture scene.
“We believe that theatre is the lie that tells the truth, the fantasy that gives us a new perspective on reality, and the gift of transformation in ourselves and each other. At the end of the day however, we are here for the sake of joy. Our motto? If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong,” Fryling said.
Leading roles in the play are acted by Neil Bryer, Casady Haines, Lindsey Bosel and Amanda Wilson. They are backed up by Angela Wilson, Norm Hinga, Holly Fryling, Phil Timko with Montana Major as stage manager and Fryling as director.
Tickets for the Importance of Being Earnest are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors. Steampunk attire is encouraged but not required for a good time! Visit the company’s website at revelrytheatre.weebly.com to reserve tickets, or buy them in advance at the Distant Whistle. For questions and other inquiries, call Leigh Fryling at 269-386-0303.