NATIVE GARDENS by Carol Kaufman Segal
Native Gardens is a comedy written by Karen Zacarias, directed by Jason Alexander, and playing at the Pasadena Playhouse. It focuses on two very different couples whose friendship turns into a feud.
Pablo (Christian Parillas) a striving young attorney recently hired by a prominent law firm, and his young pregnant wife, Tania (Jessica Meraz) have moved into their first home in a trendy neighborhood in Washington, D.C.. The property needs a little TLC, but they are excited about its great yard, wonderful mature tree, a home of their own, and the birth of their first child.
Pablo and Tania are enthusiastically welcomed by their next door neighbors, Frank (Bruce Davison) and Virginia (Frances Fisher) who are happy to see a nice family moving into the property that has been neglected due to various renters over the years. They take pride in their neighborhood, their home, and Frank particularly in his garden that he has nurtured over the years into a lush expanse of tulips and other beautiful colors of flowers.
Tania has ideas for turning her yard into a garden indigenous to their surroundings and centered around their beautiful mature tree. She panics when Pablo tells her he has invited his entire office to visit on the coming Saturday. Realizing they haven’t the time to get the house in order, they agree to have a bar-b-que and rush to get the yard in shape.
The two couples had agreed that they needed to remove a decades old iron fence and replace it with a new wooden one, but when a survey proves that Frank’s garden has been imposing on 80 square yards of their neighbors’ property, their friendship flies out the window. Both parties feel they are the injured party. So, while the gardeners (Julian Arrmaya, Richard Biglia, Bradley Roa II) continue to build the fence on the legal boundary line, upsetting Frank’s garden, the dispute between two couples erupts into a rollicking comedy.
The cast are all commended performers who are diligently directed by Jason Alexander in bringing an outstanding comedy to the Pasadena Playhouse. The beautiful set design is by David Meyer.
Native Gardens plays at the Pasadena Playhouse Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM, through Sept. 30. Tickets are available online at pasadenaplayhouse.org, by phone at (626) 356-7529, or at the theatre box office, 39 South El Molino Ave., Pasadena.