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Harvest 2010, The Backyard Plays
a 10-Minute Plays
by Nine Atlanta Playwrights

COMPANY : Onion Man Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 3620

SHOWING : June 03, 2010 - June 13, 2010



Original 10-Minute Plays by Nine Playwrights:
Awkward Silences by Kelly Young-Silverman
Jubilee Catalog Sales by David L. Fisher
Moonlight by James Beck
Much, Much Later by Susan M Steadman
One Beer by David Allan Dodson
Pony Rides are for Girls by David Marshall Silverman
The Powell Plot by Daniel Carter Brown
Two Guys Fishing by Nick Boretz
Common Ground by Raymond Fast

Cast James Beck
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Comedy Rules
by playgoer
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Onion Man Productions always does a good job of sequencing its one-act plays, starting with the weakest and alternating styles and content to give a nice build to the evening. "Harvest 2010, The Backyard Plays" is no exception. The two slightest efforts, "Moonlight" and "Much, Much Later" appear early in the first act, leaving the highlight, David L. Fisher's "Jubilee Catalog Sales," in the penultimate position in the second act.

Somehow, the strongest material elicits the strongest performances. In "Jubilee Catalog Sales," Mary Saville gives a pitch-perfect performance as a hilariously thin-skinned catalog operator, with Joanie McElroy doubling the comedy as a befuddled would-be customer. Judith L. Beasley comes in late as a plainspoken neighbor and triples the comedy. It's a delightful, neatly wrapped-up story, even though the setting tweaks the "backyard" category to include the catalog operator's workstation.

The other comic highlight in the show is David Allan Dodson's "One Beer," in which Chris Brooks' direction works terrifically well in providing contrasting outlooks forWhitney Wegman and Howard Liang, with Bob Smith nicely rounding out the action in a bit part. It's the contrasts and energy that make this play work so well.

The other comedies tend toward the silly. "Two Guys Fishing" deals with a submarine in Lake Lanier, and it has a goofy sort of humor, embodied in J. Michael Carroll's performance, which contrasts with the effective, deeply emotional performance of James Connor as his brother. "Much, Much Later" has nice performances, but it's the idea of a skit rather than a fully realized play. "Pony Rides Are for Girls," the final play, has a happy premise that probably reads better on the page than it translates to the stage.

The dramas don't make out as well as has been the case in previous years. "Common Ground" has underpowered performances on top of a sincere, consciously timely script. "Awkward Silences" has odd casting, with couples of distinct ages interacting in a storyline that would be much more powerful if the couples were more of an age. "The Powell Plot," which has a streak of black humor, comes across best of the dramas, due in large part to strong performances by Maureen Yasko and Travis Young. Ms. Yasko also gives a terrific performance in "Awkward Silences," but its quality sticks out as a bit of a non-sore thumb in the midst of the rest of the production.

Narration, by James Beck and spoken by Tanya Carroll, has a bit too much of an "in"-joke quality, sprinkling in the names of Lionheart regulars. The local references in a few of the plays also deny universality to the overall evening. A bit more range in the submissions would have helped this year.

Set design by David Fisher is attractive, although it acts as little more than a backdrop for the action. The concept of a single set for the plays sounds like it would speed transitions, but that didn't appear to be the case. Furniture rearrangement and prop setting/clean-up interacted with too-long musical interludes to slow the pace a bit between plays. Still, the variety of plays worked well to keep interest unflagging. With the emphasis on comedy, the production is an overall success. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Spend Some Time in the Backyard
by jabberwk
Monday, June 7, 2010
If you’re looking for something enjoyable to do this weekend, you might want to consider setting a spell in the backyard – the backyard at the Lionheart Theatre in Norcross, that is.

Harvest 2010: The Backyard Plays, produced by Onion Man Productions is a series of nine 10-minute plays all performed on the same backyard set. Each mini play, written by local playwrights, is a full story with beginning, middle and end. The plays, each with its own unique cast, run the gamut of genres including romantic comedy, drama, farce and science fiction. Interspersed between the plays are several short narrations reflecting on the lives hidden in neighborhoods. All of the plays are well written and enjoyable but several stand out.

In The Powell Plot written by Daniel Carter Brown and directed by Kevin Kincheloe, two adult siblings discuss the burial plans for their just-deceased and very unlikeable father. Maureen Yasko and Travis Young as the siblings are very convincing as they explore their anger and frustration while reaching out to each other for love and support.

One Beer, written by David Allan Dodson and directed by Chris Brooks ponders the romantic possibilities of one man and one woman who both reach for the last beer at a party. Whitney Wegman is a delight as the woman who verbally plays out all the possibilities while Howard Liang is perfect as the utterly confused man who really just wants to pop open the beer and drink it.

Common Ground, written by Raymond Fast and directed by Carolyn Choe explores the plight of the homeless and illustrates that “those who have” and “those who have not” are not quite so different after all. Michael Fosse performs convincingly as the homeless man befriended by a 12-year-old girl, played with perfect innocence by Jordan Fast. Suzanne Husting as the girl’s protective grandmother is most captivating, however, as she runs through a range of emotions while she struggles to accept the man as a human being.

Jubilee Catalog Sales, written by David L. Fisher and directed by James Beck is a deliciously funny piece about a woman who only wants to make a purchase from a catalog but keeps hitting a brick wall built by the customer service agent. Joanie McElroy is utterly devilish as the customer service agent, Mary Saville as the woman wanting to make the purchase plays her part to befuddled perfection, and Judith L. Beasley as the woman’s neighbor who finally comes to the rescue is fabulous. There is a twist at the end of this particular piece which also adds a neat little surprise.

There are a couple of slow spots in some of the plays, and some of the actors are noticeably more seasoned than others but, overall, the full production is very well done and well worth the ticket price. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Correction by John Stephen King
The second to last paragraph about Jubilee says that Joanie McElroy plays the customer service rep, and Mary Saville is the woman placing the order. It is actually the other way around.

Mary Saville plays the customer service rep and Joanie McElroy is the woman on the phone.
by jabberwk
My apologies. I should have double checked before posting.


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