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NATIVE GARDENS

by Karen Zacarías
directed by Julia Rosa Sosa Chaparro
 

June 18 – September 11, 2022 | Mainstage Theatre

 

When Fence Lines Become a Battleground…
Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and wife Tania, a very pregnant doctoral candidate, are realizing the American dream when they purchase a house next door to community stalwarts Virginia (played by CRT veteran Christy Brandt) and Frank. But a disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out war of taste, class, privilege, and entitlement. The hilarious results guarantee no one comes out smelling like a rose.
Comedy

Content Advisory

This play contains some mature themes, depictions of smoking, and horticultural mayhem.

Please see CRT’s complete list of Content Advisories and Trigger Warnings for additional information.

 

ASL-Interpreted Performances

CRT is proud to present ASL-interpreted performances. Please see the complete list of ASL-interpreted performances here for dates and additional information.

COVID-19 Safety

Please read CRT’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols prior to attending any CRT performance. Many factors went into crafting these rules – your health and safety, and that of our staff and artists, was of the utmost importance. These protocols may change periodically based on government mandates and/or requirements from the performers’ union. Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate new territory together!

CAST & CREATIVE TEAM

Director
Julia Rosa Sosa Chaparro

Scenic Design
AnnDee Alvidrez

Costume Design
Rossina Lozoya

Lighting Design
Kevin Frazier

Sound Design
Cece Smith

Dialect Coach
Rebecca Bossen

EDI Deputy
Matt Zambrano

Stage Manager
Marcus Carroll*

Asst. Stage Manager
Kelsea Sibold

Tania Del Valle 
Emily Bosco*

Pablo Del Valle 
Matt Zambrano*

Virginia Butley 
Christy Brandt*

Frank Butley 
Stuart Rider*

Ensemble
Brandon Guzman
Alejandro Rowinsky

Understudies
Kate Berry*
Brandon Guzman
Chris Van Winkle

 
* Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

MEET THE ARTISTS

Karen Zacarías
Playwright

Karen Zacarías was recently hailed by American Theater Magazine as one of the ten most-produced playwrights in the US. Her award-winning plays include The Copper Children, Destiny of Desire, Native Gardens, The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana and the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals (including Ella Enchanted: The Musical) and the librettist of several ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons and the founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT). YPT was cited by the Obama administration as one of the best arts-education programs on the nation. Karen was voted 2018 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine for her advocacy work involving the arts. She is an inaugural 2019 Sine Fellow for Policy Innovation at American University and is selected by The League of Professional Theatre Women to receive the 2019 Lee Reynolds Award, given annually to a woman in theater who has helped illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change. In 2021, Karen was awarded a United States Artists Fellowship award.

Julia Rosa Sosa Chaparro
Director

Julia Rosa Sosa Chaparro is an El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez native now based in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from The University of Texas at El Paso, Julia has focused on projects that resonate with the Latinx Community. She participated in Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s FAIR Program and served as the Assistant Director on Mojada: Una Medea in Los Angeles; Native Gardens directed by Robert Barry Fleming and Antigone directed by Lauren Keating at Cleveland Play House (CPH). She has worked on Spanish productions in the USA, including En el Tiempo de las Mariposas and Marisol at Cleveland Public Theatre, and Valentina y la Sombra del Diablo at Julia de Burgos Cultural Art Center. She was happy to be a part of the DirectorsLab Chicago 2019. In 2020 Julia had her playwright debut at ReUnión rEvolucion, A Latinx New Works Festival, with the Radio play El Toro y la Niña. She has been the vocalist and lyricist from the musical duo Lúnatic along Maic Corral.

John DiAntonio

Julia Rosa Sosa Chaparro

Director’s Note

Do you know your neighbors? Do you truly know the people near where you sleep, eat, dream? If you answered yes, you may be in the rare group of people that still do the neighborly thing. These days, I swear many neighbors only connect through their community Facebook group fighting in the comment section. My fiancé and I just moved to our first home, ​​and I don’t know my neighbors—with the pandemic I have an excuse—but it made me think about when I was a child growing up in the desert. Back then, I knew everybody in the neighborhood: the fights, the gossip, and even the romances. Life was different then: I lived in the desert, and social media was not a thing yet, so you had to go outside and play. 

The pandemic hit the world hard, so getting to know new people was not in the cards for me. In my isolation, I explored plants, finding ways to connect to something alive. Even though I lived far from the desert and could not travel to see my family, I could connect by putting cacti plants all over our home. My botanical exploration had mixed results–my fiancé called me a plant murderer (but there was no motive, your honor!). Plus, I only killed plants very high maintenance to keep alive. 

Aside from my plants, I have been desiring to get to know my human neighbors, but unfortunately, I didn’t meet them before the pandemic. So now, I feel a little rusty making connections, unlike our friends the Butleys and Del Valles. Being “neighborly” describes itself, but it’s hard to remember how to do it in practice. Creating a relationship with your neighbors can sometimes be a relationship of a lifetime—I’ve seen it with my childhood neighbors—or it could be a historical feud like the Capulets and Montagues…and maybe the Del Valles and the Butleys. 

A cordial relationship must be cultivated, nurtured, and cared for just like a garden. Neighbors can save lives. They can be the ones who give important information about your well-being to first responders. And our neighbors can provide day-to-day glimpses of humanity and care, like a smile in the morning. Did we forget how to be caring to those closest to us after so much time apart?

I think about the Butleys and the Del Valles and how maybe they would have never connected if they lived in our world today. Both Virginia and Frank would have been at high risk for Covid due to their age. Fortunately, in the world of this play, Covid-19 does not exist. They can be neighborly and help us understand the metaphors for the state of the world, where land is fought for and claimed; but in the end, nature is resilient. Much like the desert plants I bought when we went on lockdown. Those tough cacti are still alive!

All this to say, it’s worth getting to know each other. It’s human to have conflict with one other, but we are smart enough to find solutions. The heart of this play for me is the connection. Fighting is easy. The beauty is in the struggle that comes with acknowledging the problem and finding ways to fix it: to grow a neighborly connection into a flourishing garden. 

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SUMMER 2022

Our 57th Season | Come Together