“Who here has a neighbor?” Director Lisa Portes asked the cast, creatives, ambassadors and staff gathered for a festive first day of rehearsal for the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Native Gardens. And when she further queried, “Who here has had a dispute with a neighbor?” and, “How many of those disputes have had to do with land or noise?” — not many of the many raised hands fell.
Karen Zacarías’ celebrated play is the story of a young Latino couple that moves into a fixer-upper next to an older couple with a beautifully kept garden. All goes well until the aristocratic young Chileans discover their property line actually extends about 2 feet over their neighbors’ existing flowerbed.
“We all hope we get along with our neighbors,” Portes said. But where there is a property line, there tends to be a line in the sand.
Native Gardens is a comedy, “but it’s a sneaky comedy,” Portes added, “because suddenly there is this border dispute, and within that there is all kinds of conflict — generational, ethnic, gender and class. And eventually these two couples really have to contend with one another.”
Portes, who primarily tackles new plays and musicals, serves on the board of Theatre Communications Group, heads the MFA directing program at DePaul University and has directed at dozens of theatres around the country. Her cast includes Broadway veterans Jordan Baker (The Normal Heart) and John Ahlin (Journey’s End), as well as Mariana Fernández, who two years ago starred the DCPA Theatre Company’s FADE.
‘Native Gardens’ runs through May 6 at the Space Theatre, at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For tickets call 303-893-4100 or dcpa.org.
John Moore is Senior Arts Journalist at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
- ‘Native Gardens’ Draws Line in The Soil - April 12, 2018
- ‘American Mariachi’ Sets Students on a Search for the Recipe of Their American Dreams - March 22, 2018
- DCPA to Latinx Community: ‘We’ve Got Some Work To Do’ - January 25, 2018