Something’s afoot

Fly Another Way

James Bland (Ian Satterfield) has fun with the Bland girls in <i>Fly Another Way</i>.

James Bland (Ian Satterfield) has fun with the Bland girls in Fly Another Way.

Photo By David Robert

Sara Bogard didn’t name her dance company, A Wing and a Prayer, with flying in mind. But for the group’s next show, Fly Another Way, Bogard figured her troupe ought to have fun with the moniker.

Fly Another Way, written by Joel Lippert, is a “benefit evening of international intrigue and dance.” It’s a combination dance/theater performance involving the audience, dinner and a mystery.

Think James Bond and Die Another Day, which provided the idea for the show’s name. The star here is Bland, James Bland. He’s played by Ian Satterfield, who is neither a dancer nor an actor, but rather a firefighter with the Incline Fire Department. Bland is a snobbish bore whose monotone voice is reminiscent of Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ("Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?").

So here’s what happens. Starting at 6 p.m., the audience, or “passengers,” are ushered into the building and what appears to be an airport, complete with check stations, security devices and pesky security officers who might harass the patrons a bit. Once through the security checkpoints, passengers, both “first class” and “coach” (tickets are sold as such), are introduced to Bland and the silent auction items.

Auction items include a bar of silver, a hot-air-balloon ride, clothing from Patagonia and other stores, artwork by local artists and a free house appraisal. Proceeds benefit Wing and a Prayer dance programs, the Dance in Education Series and the Dance in Education Outreach.

Once inside the silent auction, passengers receive cocktails at a no-host bar. At 7 p.m., as dinner by Elegant Herb is served, the performance and the mystery begin. It will ruin the surprise to reveal the crime, but there will be one. The remainder of the performance involves Bland’s bumbling attempts to solve the misdeed. At one point, Bland accidentally stuns himself with his own stun-pen, and he occasionally breaks to enjoy a romantic interlude with one of his lovely “Bland Girls.”

Dance performances range from modern to jazzy, always with theatrical flair. The pieces, five in all, are meant to be slightly edgy and are the result of collaboration among the entire dance company. The company members are Patti Casey, Angela Hauser, Wendy Firestone, LaRonda Ethridge and Anna Satterfield (wife of Ian, who plays Bland). Joining them are youth members Stasha Johnson, a ninth-grader from Reed High; Leissan Sadykova, an eighth-grader at Billinghurst Middle School; and Travis Bogard, a ninth-grader at McQueen, who plays the delivery boy.

Firefighters from both the Incline and Storey County fire departments join the stage in a scene that, again, cannot be described without giving away the mystery. Bill Beeson of the Comstock Arts Council plays Columba, a satiric version of Columbo, who must solve the crime. Barbara “Squeek” LaVake of Virginia City offers her piano talents.

For Bogard, a show such as this is much more than entertainment. “To have performing arts that are original and authentic in nature, and to give aspiring dancers that chance to express themselves, that’s what we’re all about.” Fly Another Way is absolutely authentic, completely original and a lot of fun. Buckle your seatbelt and prepare for take off.