Time keeps on slippin’

Wing & A Prayer explores the loss of spare time in the modern world

Feel like your spare time has dwindled to nothing? You may be a victim of the Men in Gray.

Feel like your spare time has dwindled to nothing? You may be a victim of the Men in Gray.

We’re told that time is money. Time is valuable, and time flies. But what about taking time to smell the roses?

Sara Bogard, co-founder and artistic director of Wing & A Prayer Dance Company, was thinking along these lines when she read Momo, a book by German author Michael Ende (who also wrote The Neverending Story). From Ende’s words and Bogard’s imagination—along with three other choreographers and an acclaimed composer—comes The Time Stealers, a new modern dance production that explores the loss of free time in our fast-paced society.

“We used to have something called eight-hour days,” Bogard says. “Those eight-hour days have turned into a minimum of 12- or 14-hour days. Plus, we all now have computers in our homes, and that makes us available to work on weekends. And then people have cell phones, so you can call and interface one meeting to the next, and your time is monopolized.”

In The Time Stealers, the citizens of a city are always busy, because the Men in Gray steal every spare second and store this spare time in a “time savings bank.” Our heroes—cleverly named Cassio, Rolex and Swatch—decide to rise against the Men in Gray and organize a protest, but the citizens end up getting deposited in the time bank themselves.

“In our lives, I feel that a lot of time, although there are many instruments and equipment that are there supposedly to save time, we end up getting our time sucked away by these things,” Bogard says. “Our time of being reflective, of being human with one another, has just evaporated in our society today.”

At Wing & A Prayer, Bogard says, connections between human beings are very important. “We truly want to be for all people,” she says. Toward that end, Wing & A Prayer will present special low-cost performances for Washoe County School District students. To better serve hearing-impaired audience members, a sign language interpreter will sign along with the narrator.

Also, thanks to a generous donation by an anonymous underwriter, 125 tickets to the March 3 matinee performance will be available for disadvantaged youth for only $3 each. (Speaking of generosity, all performances are dedicated to Moya Lear. “I’m a firm believer that the philanthropists in this area, we need to honor them,” Bogard says. “They bring vibrant, beautiful things into our community.")

Bogard also emphasizes the fact that Wing & A Prayer is an intergenerational dance company, with performers ranging in age from 6 to 45.

“The purpose behind that is to blend the energy and vitality of the kids, along with the strength and the professionalism and mentorship of the adults,” she says. “So we create a very strong family niche within the company.”

Bogard hopes that parents and children will come out to see The Time Stealers together, and says that audience members shouldn’t be intimidated by modern dance.

“Dance is an unusual language. … It’s seen through shape and form and motion and the energy of the performers,” she says.

“So some are challenged by taking that on to understand—they might feel that it’s not quite literal enough—but if you just flow with it, the meaning all comes forth, and you just trust yourself to interpret the story and the meaning behind it."