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Native Gardens

Jan 25, 2024
Feb 11, 2024
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You can’t choose your neighbors.

Now extended through February 11!

Sharpen those garden shears! In this brilliant new comedy, cultures and gardens clash, turning well-intentioned neighbors into feuding enemies that spiral into an all-out border dispute, exposing two couples’ notions of race, class, privilege ... and taste.

Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, are realizing the American dream when they purchase a house next door to well-established D.C. couple Virginia and Frank. Tania yearns to transform her yard into a free-form haven for native plants and wildlife while, next door, Frank prides himself on his meticulously maintained and prize-winning English garden.

With an impending barbecue for Pablo’s new colleagues at the end of the week, a delicate disagreement over a long-standing fence line puts these two conflicting visions on a collision course and the (garden) gloves come off as Tania and Frank vie for backyard superiority. Assumptions are exposed and expectations are overturned as these two couples struggle to protect their gardens (and their dignity). The hilarious results guarantee no one comes out smelling like a rose!

"Native Gardens is a true breath of comic fresh air. It's a biting, perceptive, and ultimately hopeful sendup to our fraught relationships with those around us — even right next door." - DC Theatre Scene

“Native Gardens” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.


By Karen Zacarías



Eduardo Curley
Pablo Del Valle

Eduardo is a Chicagoan and an award-winning actor, play developer, and composer. Chicago credits include Nilo Cruz’s ANNA in the Tropics at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, where he is a company member; Nancy García Loza’s RUST (The Goodman’s New Stages); Isaac Gomez’ THE LEOPARD PLAY, OR SAD SONGS FOR LOST BOYS (Jeff Award, Steep Theatre); A DOLL’S HOUSE (Writer’s Theatre). Regional credits include Marisela Treviño Orta’s THE RIVER BRIDE (American Players Theatre); Bryna Turner’s AT THE WEDDING (TheatreSquared); The Hypocrites’ PIRATES OF PENZANCE (Pasadena Playhouse); THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE (Children’s Theater of Madison). Film credits include STATION ELEVEN (HBO). New media credits include LAKE SONG (Tribeca Official Selection, Signal Award, Make-Believe Association); BRAVA (Make-Believe Association); THE LAST HERMANOS (A Red Orchid Theatre). We count on you to help us fill these seats, thank you. Please consider a humanitarian donation to the Middle East Children’s Alliance at

Amber Lee Ramos
Tania Del Valle

Amber is a Texas-grown, Chicago-transplanted artist and actress and she is delighted to be making her Farmers Alley debut. Amber attended Baylor University for Theatre Performance and spent subsequent years raising a family and making art. She has recently returned to the stage playing Renata in the midwest premiere of SANCOCHO (Visión Latino Theater Company) and also played Abish in episodes of an online series, The Book of Mormon Video Library. Amber expresses gratitude for the NATIVE GARDENS team, Farmers Alley Theatre, her partner, Dylan, and her Chicago "framily" as well as her children and their father. Much love to Violet, Mina and Pearl!

Paul Stroili
Frank Butley

Paul Stroili is delighted to be back at Farmers Alley, where he’s been seen in A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 and THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT. Paul is a resident artist at the Purple Rose Theatre founded by Jeff Daniels, where his favorite work includes GOD OF CARNAGE and the role of Dr. Watson in David Macgregor’s trilogy of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries. His autobiographical solo show STRAIGHT UP WITH A TWIST toured the U.S. for nearly ten years, culminating in a twice-extended Off-Broadway run. Television credits include EMPIRE, CHICAGO P.D., and UNDERCOVER BRIDESMAID along with MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, BROTHER’S KEEPER, and THE UNTOUCHABLES, as well as the films WAKE, THE BEATING, GRATITUDE, COLD JUSTICE, and THE REAL WHATEVER. Also a playwright, his play A JUKEBOX FOR THE ALGONQUIN recently enjoyed an award-winning World Premiere at The Purple Rose, and his most recent play LAST CALL AT THE AARDVARK is currently available through Next Stage Press.

Diane Marie Wasnak
Virginia Butley

Diane is thrilled to be back at Farmers Alley Theatre after receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the one woman show, BECOMING DR. RUTH. Diane received major acclaim for her portrayal of Puck in Marin Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. And in 2006, Diane and her dog, Bonzer appeared on Broadway in BUSKER ALLEY. On screen Diane was MoCap stunt double for Jada Pinkett Smith in the “Matrix” games. Diane has an extensive circus background as a physical comedienne. Joining the Pickle Family Circus in 1989, Diane and Joan Mankin were the first female clown duo featured in the history of American circus. Chinese Master LuYi taught Diane her bicycle and bowls act for which she is well known, and she went on to join Cirque du Soleil in “Mystere”. Diane’s career spans four decades with more credits in stage, film and television.

Creative Team

Creative Team

Christopher Llewyn Ramirez

Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, (Director) is an actor and director from Dallas, TX and a recent Chicago transplant. Since 2017, Ramirez served as one of the eight resident acting company members at the Dallas Theater Center and is now looking forward to his journey in the Midwest! Past directing credits include LUCHA TEOTL (Goodman Theatre) Luchadora! (Cara Mia Theatre); LUCHA TEOTL (Prism Movement Theatre) and Little Shop of Horrors (Junior Players and University of Texas at Dallas). Assistant directing credits include A Christmas Carol (Dallas Theater Center); RENT and Dogfight (Junior Players). Stage credits: American Mariachi (Goodman Theatre); Native Gardens; Into the Woods; In the Heights; Twelfth Night; Sweat; White Rabbit Red Rabbit; Hair; Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure (Dallas Theater Center); Stede Bonnet a F*cking Pirate Musical and Hands on a Hardbody (Theatre Three); The Great Distance Home; Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue (WaterTower Theatre); Empathitrax (Second Thought Theatre); An Octoroon (Stage West); It Shoulda Been You; Titanic (Uptown Players); Zoot Suit; blu; Crystal City 1969 (Cara Mía Theatre Co.); The Winter’s Tale; Pericles, (Shakespeare Dallas). Ramirez received his BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University. @chrisllewynramirez

Karen Zacarias

The first playwright-in-residence at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Karen Zacarias' work has been performed at theaters all across the country including The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Arena Stage, The Goodman Theater, Round House Theater, The Denver Center, Alliance Theater, Imagination Stage, GALA Hispanic Theater, Berkshire Theater Festival, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theater, GEVA Theater, Horizon's Theater, People's Light and Theater, Walnut Street Theater, Arden Theater, Milagro Theater, Teatro Vista, Aurora Theater, and many more.

Her awards include: New Voices Award, 2010 Steinberg Citation-Best New Play, Paul Aneillo Award, National Francesca Primus Prize, New Voices Award, National Latino Play Award, Finalist Susan Blackburn, Helen Hayes for Outstanding New Play.

Karen's body of work includes plays like THE BOOK CLUB PLAY, LEGACY OF LIGHT, MARIELA INTHE DESERT, THE SINS OF SOR JUANA, THE SUN ALSO RISES and adaptations of plays HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS, JUST LIKE US, and others. Her musical CHASING GEORGE WASHINGTON premiered at The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and went on a National Tour. Her script was then adapted into a book by Scholastic with a foreword by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Zacarías established and founded the Young Playwrights' Theater in 1995. She began by volunteering and teaching playwriting classes to children in DC classrooms, and they grew so popular that she turned it into a 501c3 nonprofit organization by 1997. She is also the founder of the Latino Theatre Commons. Karen is fluent in English and Spanish and highly proficient in Danish and French. She has BA with distinction from Stanford University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Boston University. Born in Mexico, Karen now lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and three children.

More information can be found at her website.

Roger W. Burleigh
Stage Manager

Roger is excited to be in his 11th season as Farmers Alley Theatre's Equity Stage Manager. Roger started his theatre journey in second grade and has been traveling that road ever since. As an actor and technician Roger has graced many stages and has been at Farmers Alley since season two. Some of his favorites in recent years are NEXT TO NORMAL, THE PRODUCERS, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, MURDER FOR TWO, and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT…. Roger would like to thank his family and educators who got him hooked on live theatre. There is nothing quite like experiencing a live production with a live audience. Proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Sam Snow
Scenic Designer

Sam graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Technical Theatre & Design from Western Michigan University with a focus in scenic design. Since graduating Snow has worked for various companies and schools in the community including The Barn Theatre, Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, Face Off Theatre Company and Portage Central Theatre. Some highlights include Rent (2017 & 2023), Anastasia (2022),  Big Fish (Sutton Foster Ovation Award- Best Scenic Design) and Bonnie & Clyde (Wilde Award Nominated). Snow is currently the Gull Lake Center for the Fine Arts manager and technical director for Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers.

Jason Frink
Lighting Designer
Savannah Draper
Prop Designer & Scenic Artist

A Kalamazoo native, Savannah has spent the bulk of her career working as a freelance designer, stage manager and technician throughout Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Prior to freelancing, she was the Stage Management Associate for the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and Props Designer/SM for Millbrook Playhouse. With a multitude of shows under her belt she prides herself in her fake food, antiquing skills and her ability to paint wood to look like different wood.

Nicole Peckens
Costume Designer
Carter Rice
Sound Designer

Carter is a multimedia artist, audio engineer, and educator based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An assistant professor of Multimedia Arts Technology at Western Michigan University, he teaches courses in sound design, audio production, media scoring, and music theory. Rice earned a Doctor of Arts in music theory & composition from Ball State University in 2017. While primarily studying music composition and technology, he also completed a cognate through the telecommunications program studying video production, animation, video game design, and narrative forms in the digital age.



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Running Time

90 minutes, no intermission.

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Content Advisory

Farmers Alley does not offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness or stage effects (such as strobe lights or theatrical fog) that might have a bearing on patron comfort, please contact the box office at 269.343.2727

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