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10-minute plays return to Norcross

On this back porch, in this backyard, friends will confess secrets, a teenage son will ask his mother to let go, siblings will discuss where to put their late father's remains and a grandmother will question the friendship her young granddaughter has struck up with a homeless man.

It's the same setting where nine different plays will unfold, a heavy mix of comedies along with a few dramatic pieces, each written by metro Atlanta playwrights and presented in a span of 10 minutes.

The is the second consecutive year Onion Man Productions, a local theater organization dedicated to bringing new productions to the stage, has assembled a collection of 10-minute works all by local playwrights and all presented in a single night of theater.

Behind Onion Man Productions is James Beck, a Norcross resident, who is the author of one of the nine plays in this year's Harvest series. Dubbed "The Backyard Plays," each of the nine productions was written to be performed in just 10 minutes with a backyard setting.

"It has to be quick and impactful," Beck said of the 10 minutes allotted for each play. "The audience just gets a thrill out of it. It can be a roller coaster."

In Beck's play, "Moonlight," he explores a relationship between a mother and her only son, Samuel, who, at 17, is ready to move on to the next phase of his life.

"He's an average 17-year-old boy with a love for astronomy and the stars and that wants nothing more than to go to the moon," said Ross Howard, a rising senior at Norcross High School who plays the role of Samuel. "He kind of uses the moon as an escape from dealing with his mother and just family issues."

Samuel's longing to become a pilot in the Air Force will bring him closer to the moon but farther from his mother.

"(I wanted to explore) how hard it is for mothers, I think, to be able to let go and how they struggle in doing that," Beck said. "It's that necessary break. I think specifically in the South, I don't know how well they do that."

Audiences can see "Moonlight," along with the eight other plays in this year's Harvest series, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sundays through June 13 at Lionheart Theatre in Norcross. Admission is $16 for adults and $14 for senior citizens.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.onionmanproductions.com.