In Cleveland, Ohio, a fractured neighborhood along Gibb Street is brought together by a community garden born from an empty lot. As each neighbor's seeds sprout, the members of the diverse cast of characters, all portrayed by the extraordinary Sonja Parks, experience a personal sense of growth. This show is an honest and moving story about how folks with very different voices, experiences and assumptions come together to love and care for a community garden—and one another. As each neighbor's seeds sprout, the 14 characters of various genders, ages and cultural backgrounds, all portrayed by the extraordinary Sonja Parks, experience a personal sense of growth.
Through the play's storytelling, we hear the candid thoughts, experiences and feelings of many characters, including a few references to gun violence, robbery and drugs—all of which are never seen onstage. There are also many direct references to race—and various characters' views of others based on their race and ethnicities. These assumptions, and the ways in which one's assumptions are challenged when the unfamiliar becomes familiar, are one of the play's central themes, and we hope this production will inspire meaningful discussions with your family.
Here's a glimpse at the residents of Gibb Street:
Kim: a young girl from Vietnam who lives with her mother and sisters. She plants the garden's first seeds in memory of her deceased father.
Ana: an old woman from Romania who enjoys people-watching from her window. She has lived there a long time and is curious to see Kim in the empty lot.
Wendell: a widower and former school janitor who looks out for Ana. Wendell uses his childhood farming experience to help care for Kim's beans.
Gonzalo: a teenager from Guatemala who lives with his mother and elderly uncle, Tio Juan. One day, he finds Tio Juan standing in the middle of the lot admiring the new garden’s early stages of growth.
Leona: a mother and teacher. She convinces her local government to clear the lot of litter so the garden can continue to grow.
Ginny: a young Haitian girl who dreams of going to college. Her father gives her lettuce seeds so that Ginny can sell vegetables to pay for college expenses.
Sam: an older man who decides to plant pumpkins in the now thriving community garden. He notices people protecting their plants with barbed wire and "Keep Out" signs.
Sae Young: a Korean woman who owns a dry cleaning store. Anxious and afraid of strangers from an incident in her shop two years ago, she is finally ready to talk with others.
Curtis: a man who loves working out and his ex-girlfriend, Lateesha. Since she likes tomatoes, he plants, and becomes very protective of, a patch of tomatoes in the garden.
Amir: a man who works in a fabric store. He appreciates how the garden has developed a sense of community within the neighborhood.
Florence: a woman who has watched the garden flourish. In the winter, she sees everyone go their separate ways and begins to fear that the community has forgotten their garden.
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