Backstage Review – ‘Native Gardens’ at RLT
Review and Photos by Dana Nollsch
It has been some time since we were at Reno Little Theater. It felt terrific to be back enjoying “Native Gardens” performed by such a dedicated group of artists. We look forward to enjoying the rest of RLT’s season, and we thank RLT for being such gracious hosts.
And now to the review of “Native Gardens.”
“Native Gardens” is a funny and thought-provoking play that examines the reality of race and human relations in an entertaining way. The performances, set, and technical aspects come together in a delightful 90-minute performance.
Let’s look a bit deeper.
In a historic D.C. neighborhood, two families become neighbors. The Butley Family is a well-established older couple looking forward to retirement. The Del Valle family is just starting their careers, and indeed their family, as Tania Del Valle is pregnant with their first child.
The Del Valle’s purchase a fixer-upper home in an affluent neighborhood with their sights on the future. Pablo Del Valle is an up-and-coming lawyer fresh with a new company. Being a Latinx couple, the Del Valle’s bring their heritage with them to their new home. Tania Del Valle has her sights set on an inspired Native Garden.
The Butley Family are working professionals at the end of their careers. Frank Butley takes great pride in his English garden and the local competition that he competes in each year. The Butley’s are perfectly comfortable and quite set in their ways.
What happens when the two families become neighbors?
Pablo is anxious to make his mark at his new company. He invites his entire company to a BBQ for the upcoming weekend to earn points with the partners. The BBQ is an ill-conceived idea that will strain the relationship between the two families. In preparing for the BBQ, the Del Valles and the Butleys discover that their differing ideas about gardening are not the only fence they must overcome.
I found myself mesmerized as the cast took us on this journey of laughter and enlightenment. “Native Gardens is more than just entertainment.
Written by: Karen Zacarias
Karly Chandler – Tania Del Valle
Anthony Mendoza – Pablo Del Valle
Debra Lynn Hull – Virginia Butley
Bob Gabrielli – Frank Butley
Jonathan Gastelo – Landscaper/Surveyor
Rachel Douglass – Landscaper/Inspector
Abraham Vasquez – Landscaper
Uriel Cholula – Landscaper/Surveyor
Director – Moira Bengochea
Ryan Corrigan – AD
Jesse Spooner – Stage Manager/Props
Joan Hong – Assistant Stage Manager
- Evening Show dates: June 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 @ 7:30p
- Matinee Show dates: June 12, 19, 26 @ 2:00p
- Pay What You Decide Performance – Saturday, June 11th