Photo Flash: NATIVE GARDENS At Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Cultures and gardens clash in acclaimed playwright Karen Zacarías' hilarious hot-button comedy Native Gardens. When a questionable fence line puts a prize-worthy garden in jeopardy, neighborly rivalry escalates into an all-out border dispute, challenging everyone's notions of race, privilege, class, and good taste. Well-intentioned neighbors quickly turn into feuding enemies.
"You go in, and you're judging each couple and changing your mind about who's right, but at the end of the play, the person you're judging is yourself. My hope is that people will take a moment to ponder what it will take for them to be a better neighbor," Zacarías said in an interview with Keluda Smith. "You can still laugh, have fun, and talk about hard things in a way where nobody's off the hook."
Melissa Crespo directs a cast that includes Anne-Marie Cusson and Paul DeBoy as the retired Butleys, and Erick González and Monica Rae Summers Gonzalez as the new neighbors, the Del Valles. Crespo leads an all women of color design team of Scenic Designer Shoko Kambara, Costume Designer Lux Haac, Lighting Designer Dawn Chiang, and Sound Designer Elishaba Ittoop. Native Gardens is a co-production with Syracuse Stage and Geva Theatre Center, where the production received rave reviews.
American Theatre Magazine named Zacarías one of the top five most-produced playwrights in the United States this season, and named Native Gardens one of the top 10 most produced plays. Recently, her play Destiny of Desire was a hit at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
The Armory will host free Post-show discussions with cast and crew following matinee performances on May 30, June 2, 6, 13, and 15.
Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv/Courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Monica Rae Summers Gonzalez and Erick Gonzalez