Native Gardens
Jun 2Jul 2, 2017
By Karen Zacarias


Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and his pregnant wife Tania, a doctoral candidate, think they have hit the jackpot with their new home. It seems to have everything they dreamed of: a nice neighborhood, plenty of bedrooms for their growing family, outdoor space, and friendly neighbors. When Pablo and Tania decide to upgrade the eyesore chain link fence in their backyard, neighbors Virginia and Frank couldn’t be happier. Happy until they think their new neighbors are taking more than they deserve. A disagreement over a property line quickly spirals into a war of taste, class and entitlement in Native Gardens, a hilarious comedy by Karen Zacarias and directed by Marti Lyons.


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Marti Lyons, Director

Karen Zacarías, Playwright


Patrick Clear (Frank Butley)

Paloma Nozicka (Tania Del Valle)

Gabriel Ruiz (Pablo Del Valle)

Janet Ulrich Brooks (Virginia Butley)


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  • “FOUR STARS. Comedy Really Blooms. Blue-Ribbon Cast.”
    Time Out Chicago
  • “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. FOUR STARS. 90 Minutes of hilarity. BRAVO!”
    “Set designed by William Boles is indeed a masterpiece.”
    Around the Town Chicago
  • “AN UTTER DELIGHT. The writing is smart and the delivery is hilarious. Marti Lyons seduces us with her seamless direction. One of the most fun, funniest shows I’ve seen… Do yourself a favor and see it.”
    PerformInk Chicago
  • “This is one funny show! A night at the theatre that will keep you laughing all the way back home.”
    —Behind the Curtain


Public Programs

Post-Show Conversation
After every performance of Native Gardens (unless otherwise noted)

Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations led by members from the Victory Gardens community, reflect on what you’ve seen, and share your response.

Tuesday, May 23 | 7:00pm
Grab your friends and family and head on over to the Victory Gardens Theater’s Block Party in celebration of Karen Zacarías’s hilarious neighborly comedy Native Gardens. Enjoy some mouth-watering barbecue, backyard games, and, of course, an exclusive sneak peek at Native Gardens! Free and open to the public

After every performance of Native Gardens (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, The Council of Community Leaders, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.

Post-show Conversation | Following the evening performance of NATIVE GARDENS
Join playwright Karen Zacarías and Director of New Play Development Isaac Gomez as we talk inspiration, determination, and process after this evening’s performance of Native Gardens.

June 2-4 | Latinx Performance Celebration
Join us for an epic weekend of performance, conversation, and celebration as we welcome local and national Latinx artists as they share their work and tell their stories. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, June 6 | 6:30pm | Pre-show Exhibition
Join us for a pre-show beginners’ guide to urban gardening, and find the green thumb you never knew you had.

Thursday, June 8 | Pre-show Reception | Post-show Interactive Talkback 
What kind of neighbor do you want to be? Join us for a pre-show celebration of community and neighbors with food, drinks, and an interactive lobby display. After the performance of Native Gardens, stick around and get to know your neighbors during an immersive post-show workshop lead by local teaching artists.

Wednesday, June 14 | Post-show Conversation
Chicago is a city historically built on neighborhoods that were intended to segregate. Join us for this riveting post-show conversation as we are joined by urban planners, developers, activists and more as we unearth the truths that have kept us apart, and discovering dreams to unite us once more.

Thursday, June 15 | Post-show Performance
What fences do we put up in our daily lives? In our current political climate, how do we build bridges at our borders instead of walls? Join us after this evening’s performance of Native Gardens for riveting post-show spoken word poetry.

Saturday, June 24 | Post-show Performance
Laugh it up at this post-show performance as local Latinx comedians and sketch artists take the mic.