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July 28, 2021

Read More Plays Club: Native Gardens


The Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club focuses on recognizing select Concord Theatricals plays as important works of literature, uniting theatre lovers and creating a digital space dedicated to celebrating great artists, good conversation and plays on the page.

Each club session features a fantastic Concord Theatricals title and artists connected to the work in an hour-long candid discussion around the creation and history of the play. Readers have a chance to engage with the artist and learn more about their motivations, their creative process, and the work itself.

For our fifth session, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, we read and discussed…

Native Gardens (US/UK)


Native Gardens (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy)

Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and doctoral candidate Tania, his very pregnant wife, are realizing the American dream when they purchase a house next door to community stalwarts Virginia and Frank. But a disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out war of taste, class, privilege and entitlement. The hilarious results guarantee no one comes out smelling like a rose.

Watch the full session below!


Karen Zacarías was recently hailed by American Theater Magazine as one of the ten most-produced playwrights in the US. Her award-winning plays include The Copper Children, Destiny of Desire, Native Gardens, The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana and the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals (including Ella Enchanted: The Musical) and the librettist of several ballets.

She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons – a large national organization of artists seeking to update the American narrative with the stories of Latinos – and she is the founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT). YPT was cited by the Obama administration as one of the best arts-education programs on the nation.

Karen was voted 2018 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine for her advocacy work involving the arts. She is an inaugural 2019 Sine Fellow for Policy Innovation at American University and is selected by The League of Professional Theatre Women to receive the 2019 Lee Reynolds Award, given annually to a woman in theater who has helped illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change. In 2021, Karen was awarded a United States Artists Fellowship award.

Karen lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.

Lisa Portes (Moderator) is a director, educator, advocate and leader whose aim is to define and promote a new American narrative that is driven aesthetically and politically by the world we are becoming, rather than the world we’ve been. Portes has created work regionally for California Shakespeare Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, the Denver Center, the Cincinnati Playhouse, Children’s Theatre Company, Olney Theatre, South Coast Rep, McCarter Theatre LAB and the Kennedy Center. In Chicago she has directed for Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Victory Gardens, Timeline Theatre, American Blues, Silk Road Rising, Next Theatre and Teatro Vista. New York credits include productions at Playwrights Horizons and Soho Rep, and developmental work at New York Theatre Workshop, the Flea Theatre and the Public Theatre. Recent projects include Rightlynd by Ike Holter (Victory Gardens), The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse (Cincinnati Playhouse), I Come from Arizona by Carlos Murillo (Children’s Theatre Company), Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías (Denver Center), Breach: A Manifesto on Race in American through the Eyes of a Black Girl Recovering from Self Hate by Antoinette Nwandu (Victory Gardens), Glass Menagerie (CalShakes), Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar (Cincinnati Playhouse) and This Is Modern Art by Idris Goodwin & Kevin Coval (Steppenwolf Theatre). In 21-22 she will direct Quixote Nuevo by Octavio Solís for Round House Theatre and the Denver Center.

In 2016, Portes received the SDC Zelda Fichandler Award, which is dedicated to “an outstanding director or choreographer who has transformed the regional arts landscape.” She is the first freelance director to have been so honored. Other awards include the TCG SPARK Leadership fellowship, the NEA/TCG Career Development grant for Directors, and the Drama League Directing Fellowship.

A leader with over 20 years of experience in the field, Portes serves on the board of The Theatre Communications Group, the executive board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the Directors Circle of the Drama League. In 2012 she co-founded the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC), a national advocacy network and thinktank that promotes Latinx stories as central to the American story. She serves as lead producer and chief fundraiser for the LTC Carnaval—a tri-annual festival of new Latinx plays produced in Chicago—and the El Fuego Initiative, which seeded ten regional and world premieres over the course of the past three seasons by the playwrights selected for the inaugural 2015 Carnaval. In June 2017, the LTC was honored by the TCG with the 2017 Peter Zeisler Award.

Portes heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. She lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright Carlos Murillo, and their two teenagers, Eva Rose and Carlos Alejandro.

To register for the next session of the Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club, click here.