The curtain’s set to rise on “Bridging the Gap,” a zany original comedy by Rosann Balbontin of Cambria, on Friday, Aug. 6, at Allied Arts Association’s Theatre at the Old Grammar School (TOGS).
A gala reception with the seven- member cast follows the performance on Saturday, Aug. 7.
Balbontin describes the two-act comedy which she wrote and directs as “semi-autobiographical comic relief from reality.” With extensive theater experience, she presented the play as a reading at Cambria’s Pewter Plough Playhouse in November 2009. Her husband, Jaime Lopez-Balbontin, appears in a key part.
Nancy Green stars as Anne Pater. Green is a co-founder of the original Theater Arts Group of Allied Arts in 1996 and was instrumental in establishing the new community theater at TOGS. Bringing with her a wealth of experience in New York, London and Hamburg, Germany, she has appeared in numerous productions in Cambria for Allied Arts, the Pewter Plough and the San Luis Obispo Little Theater.
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Co-star Jerry Praver, as husband Dick Pater, frequently is seen as San Luis Obispo County and Cambria’s Town Crier. He has presented folk music concerts and educational programs with wife, Bev, throughout the country for more than 25 years. This is his first full-scale performance.
Playing their daughters are veteran actors Diane Steele and Sandy Bosworth. Steele is a dancer/actress who dabbles in choreography as well as costume design, and has also performed in many shows at the Pewter Playhouse over the 25 years she’s lived in Cambria. She has also taught dance.
Bosworth, of Paso Robles, is the only non-Cambrian among the cast and crew and studied acting in San Francisco and Reno, Nev., where she acted in many plays of the Nevada Repertory Theatre Company. She has also taught acting at Lassen Community College.
Sarah Smith and Jonathan Wilson, both students at Coast Union High School, bring a variety of experiences from musical productions over the last three years to their roles as the grandson and his girl friend.
According to Balbontin, “’Bridging the Gap’ is a ‘screwball’
comedy, a variety of farce that features a female character, the screwball in this case being Anne (and the infamous parrot). I like to think of this particular genre as comic relief from reality; and when I read that Neil Simon garners most of his material from his own dysfunctional family, I thought it might be terribly irreverent of me to make fun of family situations that were not all that funny at the time. It beats writing an Augusten Burroughs type of memoir (and I hope it’s more entertaining).”
The play continues through Pinedorado, wrapping up with a matinee on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.