The Hilarious, Refreshing, Bold, and Challenging Native Gardens

This week’s Playhouse Perspective blog comes from Native Gardens cast member Elizabeth Ramos. 

The first time I read the play Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias was back in 2016. I remember thinking it was hilarious and refreshing, but also bold and challenging. I hadn’t seen a show quite like that before and had yet to play a role like Tania Del Valle. I hoped I would have the opportunity one day to explore this meaningful story that shows us a true reflection of the times. Since then, the play has been produced in regional theatres all over the country and Zacarias is now one of the Top 20 most-produced playwrights of the year!

Elizabeth RamosI am excited to finally join in on this wild ride of a show at Gulfshore Playhouse! Working with this cast and creative team has been a dream come true. On the very first day of rehearsal we gathered at the Norris Center and did a reading of the play in front of the entire staff. Not only did we get to hear the play and laugh A LOT, but we also got to have a wonderful discussion afterwards. I left that first day with my heart full. And that’s what it’s been like working on Native Gardens… encouraging, challenging, and embracing one another to celebrate the greatness of humanity.

Working with Kristen Coury and the cast has been a blessing. Every single day of rehearsals has been filled with laughter, discoveries, and a truer understanding of each and every one of these characters. It’s not easy to raise issues like race, class, age, and gender, and for this process it is necessary. But having these difficult conversations with this incredible group of people has been such a beacon of light for the future.

My hope is that when you come to see this show you will leave with that same feeling. May you have a wonderful time, full of love, laughs, celebration, and perhaps even get to see yourself reflected on that stage! Expect a fun-filled night at the theatre and a wild ride full of surprises. I look forward to having you here and sharing this incredible experience together!

And with that, I’d love to share with you an excerpt from an interview with Nina Simone, whose beautiful words remain true, and perfectly capture what it has been like working on Native Gardens here at Gulfshore Playhouse,

“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved…WE will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.” – Nina Simone.


For tickets to Native Gardens, go to

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