ASR Theater ~~ “Native Gardens” Humor Undermines More than Plants

By Cari Lynn Pace

What happens when an older couple with a properly manicured flower garden shares a backyard fence with young new neighbors who prefer wild native plants? Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse presents Native Gardens, Karen Sacarias’ amusing play digging into more than just dirt.

The mostly painted setting in the 99-seat Monroe Stage is of the backyards of two homes. Frank and Virginia Butley (Ron Smith and Sheila Lichirie) welcome the new young homeowners, Pablo and Tania De Valle (Lorenzo Alviso and Lexus Fletcher), and proudly show off their garden.

digs deeper to unearth prejudices about class, age, and race …”

The Butleys soon suggest the De Valles cut down their huge oak tree which has acorns and messy branches threatening their roof. Tania takes umbrage at this suggestion, unleashing her own criticism about the Butley’s choice of non-native plants. Tania wants her yard to attract bugs, which feed the birds, and so on with the circle of ecology. The Butleys are aghast at her idea of planting “weeds,” and the acrimony begins.

“Native Gardens” cast at work.

Further hostilities ensue when the backyard mutual fence line is found to be in error. A survey shows correcting the property line will wipe out the flower garden Frank Butley has been tending for decades, dashing his hopes of winning a neighborhood garden award.

Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse presents “Native Gardens”, by Karen Sacaria.

The Butleys stop construction of the De Valle’s fence with something akin to a food fight, done with acorns and a shredded stop-work order. Some fences do not make good neighbors.

Native Gardens digs deeper to unearth prejudices about class, age, and race. Director Beaulah Vega notes “perhaps we can choose…to be good neighbors and appreciate the beauty in this hybrid garden of a country.”


ASR Writer & Editor Cari Lynn Pace is a voting member of SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and writes theatre and lifestyle reviews for the Marinscope Community Newspapers throughout Marin County. Contact:


ProductionNative Gardens
Written byKaren Zacarias
Directed byBeaulah Vega
Producing Company6th Street Playhouse
Production DatesThru June 16th, 2024
Production Address6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Telephone (707) 523-4185
Tickets$37 to $45
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
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