Heller Theatre Company will open its 2019-2020 season with its 10th annual Heller Shorts festival of original short plays.

The company, now in its sixth season as an independent, nonprofit theater company, started as a program of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and has throughout its history been known for unusual and challenging work.

This year’s Heller Shorts, titled “Now and Ten,” will depart slightly from the festival’s tradition of presenting all-new plays by local writers. The 2019 edition will feature five world-premiere short plays alongside five works from past Shorts productions.

The new works to be presented, three of which are by writers making their Heller Shorts debuts, are:

“Patsy’s Suitcase” by Kelley Childers Friedberg; directed by Jenny Clyde

“A Tale of Distraction” by Camie Hayes and R. Channing Reynolds; directed by Karlena Riggs

“Death by Tiger” by Dan Hitzman; directed by Angela McLaughlin

“It’s Not Hard” by Karlena Riggs; directed by Machele Miller-Dill

“Three Went Down” by Andrew Nichols; directed by Audie Pritchett

The returning shows are:

“Ars Longa, Vita Ferris” by David Blakely (originally seen in 2014); directed by Jarrod Kopp

“The Moon is My Neighbor” by Shadia Dahlal (originally seen in 2018); directed by Michelle Collum

“Tacky” by Nick Lutke and George Romero (originally seen in 2015); directed by Roderick Hudson

“Two Lies and the Truth?” by Archer C. Williams (originally seen in 2017); directed by Luke Thompson

“Jumper” by Michael Wright (originally seen in 2011); directed by Kia Hightower

Audience members will be asked to vote for their favorite play through the traditional “Stuff Our Shorts,” with donations going to help support Heller Theatre Company.

Following the Saturday, Aug. 24, performance, Heller Theatre Company will host a gala, “A Decade of Shorts,” at the Henthorne PAC, 4825 S. Quaker Ave. The event will include hors d’oeuvres, awards and a raffle. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 22-24; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, 621 E. Fourth St.

Tickets: $17-$20. hellertheatreco.com

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