Native Gardens

By Karen Zacarias
Directed by Lee Osorio
Apr 12-28
Fri & Sat at 7:30pm
Sun at 2:30pm
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“A biting, perceptive, and ultimately hopeful sendup to our fraught relationships with those around us – even right next door.” – DC Theatre Scene


Inspired by real stories of neighbor disputes, Native Gardens introduces us to new homeowners Pablo and Tania and long-time residents Virginia and Frank in their historic neighborhood. Everyone is neighborly until a fence, a garden competition, and a company BBQ causes politics, classism, and racism to bloom. Unlike real neighbor disputes though, this fast-paced culture-clash comedy is both timely and satisfying.

Running time: 90 minutes no intermission

About the show

In the suburbs of Washington D.C., a high-powered lawyer named Pablo and his very pregnant, doctoral candidate wife named Tania, have just purchased their dream home. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but luckily Tania is a brilliant gardener and plans to transform their outdoor space into a beautiful native garden. Their new next-door neighbor, Frank, is a gardener himself and spends most of his time nurturing his non-native garden to win the annual gardening competition in the neighborhood. Frank and his wife Virginia have lived here for a long time and welcome Pablo and Tania with open arms. However, when Pablo invites his whole law firm over for a BBQ, Tania and Pablo set to work on building a fence and discover that their property line is 2 feet into Frank’s beloved garden. This creates friction between the neighbors and an all-out border dispute erupts.

Meet the Cast and Creative

Karen Zacarías (Playwright)

Karen Zacarías was recently hailed by American Theatre magazine as one of the most produced playwrights in the United States. Zacarías’s plays include The Copper ChildrenDestiny of DesireNative GardensThe Book Club Play, and Legacy of Light, among others. She has also adapted for the stage Just Like UsThe Age of InnocenceInto the Beautiful North, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent.

She is the author of ten renowned Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) musicals and the librettist of several ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage in Washington, DC; a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a national organization of artists seeking to update the American narrative with stories of Latinx; and founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT), which teaches playwriting to young people and was cited by the Obama administration as one of the best arts education programs in the nation.

In 2019, she was voted a Washingtonian of the Year for her arts advocacy by Washingtonian magazine and spoke at TEDxBroadway. She also received a Sine Fellowship at the American University School of Public Policy for connecting art with policy making; the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Lee Reynolds Award for social, cultural, or political change with theater; and the Childrens Theatre Foundation’s Medallion Award. Born in Mexico, Zacarías lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

Lee Osorio (Director)

Lee Osorio is an Atlanta-based actor, playwright, and director. He has appeared on stages across the region including the Alliance, True Colors, Actor’s Express, Shakespeare Tavern, and Aurora. Television credits include FoundThe ResidentYour HonorNCIS: New Orleans, and True Detective. Two of his plays will receive world premiere productions this year, Prisontown at Savannah Rep and A Third Way at Actor’s Express. Lee received his MFA in Acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA.

Erika Miranda (Tania)
Erika is so excited to be at Stage Door for the first time, and alongside some of her favorite artists! She is a Mexican-Norwegian producer, director and actor. She received her BFA in Acting from The Theater School at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and has pursued additional training from institutions such as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Upright Citizens Brigade. Her theater credits extend from Chicago to LA and most recently in Atlanta with companies such as Theatrical Outfit and Horizon. In 2020, Erika founded Cafecito Productions, an incubative production company in Atlanta, GA. CP’s first film, Mi Casa, can be found on all HBO platforms. CP’s film,Sweetie, was picked up by Give Me an A, an anthology produced by Tasha Halevi, and can be viewed on all VOD Platforms. Erika is also the Executive Producer of SheATL Arts Summer Theater Festival, which celebrates theater makers of marginalized genders. Erika is proudly represented by Taylor DeThomas at Alexander White Agency.

Braian Rivera Jimenez (Pablo)

Braian Rivera Jimenez is a Colombian American actor Raised in New York and Atlanta. His love for acting started in middle school and high school theater at Norcross Georgia. He studied Meisner technique at Ruskin School of acting in Santa Monica and started his career in film while living in California. You can see him acting alongside Aml Ameen in a supporting role on the feature “The Price” on Amazon Prime- which went to SXSW in 2017 and got distributed by Orion Pictures. You can also see him co-starring on “13 Reasons Why”, “Shameless”, ”Naomi” and “The Walking Dead”. Braian is most passionate about telling stories that reflect culture, diversity and human connection. His biggest inspiration is his mother who fearlessly immigrated to the United States in search of a better life.

Native Gardens will be his first theatrical debut at Stage Door! He is proudly represented by Alexander White Agency.

Tracey Buot (Virginia)

Tracey Buot makes her debut at Stage Door Theatre with Native Gardens. Tracey has a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Virginia and was trained by George Black, Colleen Kelly and Richard Warner. Some of her favorite roles include: Maud/Lin in Cloud Nine, Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade and Sheila in The Boys Next Door in which she received an Irene Ryan Nomination. Most recently Tracey performed in Essential Theatre’s First Annual Southern Fried Bake Off.

Rial Ellsworth (Frank)

Rial is humbled, thrilled and grateful to be returning to the stage here at Stage Door! He was last on this stage back in 2019 in A Nice Family Gathering in addition to Barefoot in the Park, Southern Comforts, The Odd Couple and others in years past. He also served as resident sound designer in this space for many years. Rial is an Atlanta Theatre veteran who has been blessed to work with many of Atlanta’s theaters over the years including Actors Express, The Alliance, The Atlanta Lyric, Onstage Atlanta Georgia Ensemble, Out Front Theatre, The Springer Opera House (Columbus) and many others.

Claudia Martinez (Sound Designer)

Claudia Jenkins Martinez is a Sound Designer and educator based in Dallas Texas. Recent works include: Deathtrap, Theatre Three; A Tell Tale Heart, Pittsburgh Public Theater; I Wanna F*cking Tear You Apart, Stage West; Steel Magnolias, Pittsburgh Public Theater; Trouble In Mind, Dallas Theater Center; Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas; Stede Bonnet: A F*cking Pirate Musical, Theatre Three. @claud_jenkinsmartinez

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