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Thursday, August 30, 2018

At The Playhouse: Good Fences Don’t Always Make Good Neighbors

From STAFF REPORTS

 

Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, is presenting Native Gardens, a new comedy by Karen Zacarías and directed by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander. The production runs September 5 through 30 at Pasadena Playhouse.

The cast of Native Gardens features actors of both screen and stage: Christian Barillas (Ronaldo on Modern Family), Academy Award Nominee Bruce Davison (Willard, Longtime Companion, and A Song at Twilight at Pasadena Playhouse), Frances Fisher (Titanic, Unforgiven, Resurrection), and Jessica Meraz (TNT’s Major Crimes). The cast of Native Gardens is rounded out by Julian Armaya, Joshua Duron and Bradley Roa II.

In this new comedy, horticultures clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies. It’s the War of the Hoses where cultures collide and mudslinging ensues – literally. Good fences don’t always make good neighbors, but they do make for a lot of laughs in this new play.

Native Gardens tells the story of Pablo (Barillas), a rising attorney, and Tania (Meraz), his very pregnant wife who is also a doctoral candidate. They have just purchased a home next to Frank (Davison) and Virginia (Fisher), a well-established D.C. couple with a prize-worthy English garden. They could not feel more welcomed until an impending barbeque for Pablo’s colleagues and a delicate disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out comedic border dispute.

Mexican-American playwright Karen Zacarías said, “Neighborhood stalwarts Virginia and Frank Butley are overjoyed when Tania and Pablo del Valle move into the “fixer-upper” next door. But a disagreement about a fence…and opposing views about gardening push these well-meaning couples into a battle on the politics of…PLANTS. It’s a big-hearted comedy with a lot of sharp little teeth. By focusing on the disarming nature of gardening, I hope we can laugh and examine many thorny issues taking root in our culture.”

Director Jason Alexander said, “In a deceptively simple, deeply appealing play the author has captured the essence of a global conversation we are now having. The subject is ‘who belongs to what community and who controls those communities.’ It sounds like that would have to be a heavy weighted evening, but in Karen Zacarías’ deft hands, she has transformed it into a serio-comic delight. It is impossible to watch without getting involved and wondering what you would do in the same situation. Great characters, great fun and I look forward to sharing it with our theater community.”

“It is very exciting for me to introduce the work of Karen Zacarías to Los Angeles. She tackles topical issues with great verve, wit and relevance,” said Danny Feldman, Pasadena Playhouse Producing Artistic Director. He continues, “Anyone who has a neighbor can relate – or maybe even sympathize – with someone in this story. We all share stories about good and bad neighbors and what can happen. And when it happens to someone else, its even funnier. In the hands of these comedic legends, I am sure you are in for a good laugh.”

The creative team is rounded out by scenic designer David Meyer, costume designer Raquel Barreto, lighting designer Thomas Ontiveros, and sound designer Christian Lee.

Tickets start at $25 for Native Gardens and are available at pasadenaplayhouse.org, by phone at (626) 356-7529, and at the box office at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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