Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor | www.azstarnet.com ®

Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor | www.azstarnet.com ®

Published: 12.04.2009
Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor
One-man show dramatizes ex-pro player's plan for life
By Alexa Miller

Bo Eason anxiously waits in the dark before he whips into action.
A familiar rush of adrenalin pumps through his veins. He feels the crowd's anticipation.

"I can hear the crowd, I can feel their vibrations," said Eason, a former Houston Oiler safety.

"I feel like I'm in the Astrodome again, waiting to be introduced to 65,000 fans."

Bo Eason brings his one-man show, Runt of the Litter, to the Old Pueblo. Photo courtesy of Invisible Theatre.

But this is theater, not football. The scene is backstage, waiting to make his entrance for his one-man show, "Runt of the Litter." Invisible Theatre brings the production to Tucson this weekend.

The cue music starts, the lights go on and Eason takes his first step in recounting, play-by-play, his journey to becoming a professional football player.

"Whether it's a sport or a play, I get a thrill from live performance. You can't stop to go back and redo something," said Eason. "That ambivalent feeling makes me nervous, but I rise to the occasion."

Written by Eason, "Runt" is a semi-autobiographical account of a dedicated man who was always told he wasn't good enough to play football.

He fell into the shadow of his gifted older brother, Tony. With determination and a crayon in hand, 9-year-old Eason drew out a 20-year plan that, if strictly followed, would lead the way to a professional football career.

"When the play starts, you are in the last hour of the 20-year plan, and it's all about to come true," said Eason. "Catch is, I have to destroy my brother to make it happen."

Tony played for the New England Patriots and in 1987, the brothers' teams were slated to play each other. Eason was the Oiler's safety, and his brother was the Patriot's quarterback, two positions that compete directly.

"Fate would have it that the game never happened, but over a decade later I was still haunted by it," said Eason. "I always wondered what could have happened."

Choosing to channel his curiosities through live theater, Eason's "Runt" delves into his dreams, ambitions, sibling rivalries and family loyalties, but with a little added drama.

"It's universal in its themes," said Eason. "The more personal you make it the more universal it becomes."
Through his story-telling, Eason looks to inspire.

"Kids will come up to me after the show and say, 'Wow, my parents need to see this,' and parents will come up and say, 'Wow, my kid needs to see this'," said Eason.

"Runt" also inspired the yet-to-be-released movie of the same name directed by Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption," "The Green Mile"), as well as the "21 Day Runt Program," where children learn how to visualize and work toward their goals by creating a plan.

"The program has the kids do exactly what I did when I was 9, declare a dream, draw it and write it down," said Eason. "So the story relates right to them."

If you go
"Runt of the Litter"
• Presented by: The Invisible Theatre.
• Written/performed by: Bo Eason.
• Director: Larry Moss
• When: 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday.
• Where: The Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway.
• Tickets: $42; Rush tickets are half-price half-hour before curtain; based on availability.
• Reservations/information: 882-9721.
• Running time: 2 hours, with one intermission
Alexa Miller is a University of Arizona student who is apprenticing at the Star. Contact her at 573-4128 or at starapprentice@azstarnet.com.

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