Aurora Theatre's 'Native Gardens' Depicts Clash Of Cultures Between New Neighbors

May 7, 2019

Most Americans say they know at least some of their neighbors, but admit they tend to interact less with neighbors who don't belong to the same class, race or political party, according to the Pew Research Center. So, when Tania del Valle and her husband Pablo move into the fixer-upper next door to Frank and Virginia Butley's historic home, a saga of microaggressions ensues.

Those racial, generational and economic tensions play out in Native Gardens, on stage this month at Lawrenceville's Aurora Theatre. Costars Fedra Ramirez-Olivares and Carolyn Cook, who portray Tania del Valle and Virginia Butley, respectively, joined On Second Thought in studio to share more about their production and the play's real-life parallels in Gwinnett County. 

Ramirez-Olivares told On Second Thought, "There's so many assumptions going on about ... who is racist, who is not, what it means to be Republican, what it means to be a Democrat and what we associate with that. The play does a really good job of dispelling and subverting that."

Cook agreed. 

"If you walk in the door wanting to judge anybody in the play, you're going to walk away having changed your mind a little bit," Cook said. "Everybody in the play has kindness and generosity in them ... They just need to consider life with eyes more wide open."

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