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Theatre Production: Native Gardens

This is a past event.

Saturday, February 26, 2022 7:30pm

141 East 12th Street, Holland, MI 49423-3607

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The production is directed by Richard Perez, assistant professor of theatre at Hope. “Native Gardens” centers on two couples who are neighbors in a historical area of Washington, D.C. Frank and Virginia Butley are elderly “empty-nesters.” Frank is retired and spends much of his time maintaining his lovely, pristine garden. Each year he tries to win an award from the Potomac Horticultural Society, to no avail.

New arrivals to the neighborhood, Pablo and Tania DeValle have bought the “fixer-upper” next door to the Butleys. They hope to make a home for themselves and their new baby, who is due any day. Tania’s dream is to eventually create a garden with plants native to the area in their new backyard. When Pablo decides to invite his entire law firm over for a barbeque on short notice, the couple realizes they should replace the dilapidated fence separating the neighbors’ yards. However, once the DeValle’s discover that their property demarcation actually allows them several feet from the Butleys’ property, hilarious pandemonium ensues.

“Several things drew me to ‘Native Gardens,’” Perez said. “I appreciated the fact that the Latinx couple were a successful Ph.D. candidate and an up-and-coming lawyer. While I am well acquainted with many successful couples of color, I rarely see them represented on stage. I was also struck by the way Zacarias takes serious issues like land possession, border politics and racial biases, and explores them in a humorous and yet thought-provoking way. Finally, I wanted to continue our department’s commitment to making sure writers and students of color are better represented in our theatrical season. We are excited that the play is written by a Latinx playwright and has a predominately Latinx cast. ‘Native Gardens’ premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse in 2016 and went on to become one of the most produced plays in the 2018-2019 season, winning many awards and accolades.”

In addition to Perez, the college’s production team includes Professor Michelle Bombe, who is chair of the department and mentor to the student costume designer, senior Greer Gardner of Marshall; Ken Chamberlain, assistant director of production for dance and theatre, as lighting designer; Eric Van Tassell, assistant professor of theatre, as sound designer; Lisa Borton as guest scenic and properties designer; sophomore Carole Chee of Grand Rapids as head of props; and staff members Stephen Krebs, Erik Alberg and Darlene Veenstra as technical director, production manager and costume shop manager, respectively. Also serving on the production team is sophomore Rachel Scott of Clarkston as stage manager along with sophomore Selena Capman of Fennville, and freshmen Grace Conant of Evanston, Illinois, and Danai Mandebvu of Harare, Zimbabwe, serving as assistant stage managers.

The cast includes freshmen Maria Diaz of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Renee Marting of Dundee and Neri Sanchez Gama of Holland; juniors Miguel Castelan of Grand Haven and Jazmin Diaz of Houston, Texas; and seniors Sam Joachim of Dearborn and Sofia Munoz of Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

Tickets are $10 for regular admission; $7 for senior citizens and Hope faculty and staff; and free for Hope College students and for children 18 and under. Tickets are available at the Events and Conferences Office located in downtown Holland in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The ticket office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 616-395-7890. Tickets can also be purchased online at

Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college’s Events and Conferences Office by emailing or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Updates related to events are posted when available in the individual listings at

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, seating will be limited, and Hope is also currently requiring that masks be worn by all individuals while indoors on campus unless in their living space or alone in their work space.

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  • Sarah Huizenga

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