A former pro football player turned playwright and performer will bring his one-man show to Iowa for the first time this week.

 Bo Eason, a former defensive safety for the Houston Oilers, says his play, “Runt of the Litter,” is based loosely on his own life. Eason believes he’s the only N-F-L player who’s gone on to become an actor and playwright. He says he played all sports in high school, but also had a secret love for the theatre.

“I always kept one eye on the drama department and I never let on that I was doing that,” Eason says. “I really loved plays, I loved going to plays, I always dreamed about being in one but I never was because the athletes just didn’t mix with the drama world.”

After retiring from pro football in 1989, Eason says he began pursuing his other passions — writing and acting. This show explores the tale of two brothers in a family of over-achievers and a boy who plots out his vision for success.

“It’s really a story about a kid when he’s nine years old, draws up a 20-year plan with crayon and school paper,” Eason says. “When Runt of the Litter opens, you are in the last hour of that 20-year plan. It is about to come true. This kid has devoted his whole life to this dream, to this plan.”

In the play, the boy’s parents assure their oldest son he’s destined for football stardom and tell their youngest son — Eason — he’s too small to compete. Eason’s real-life brother, Tony, was also in the pros — as the quarterback who led the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1986. Eason describes the play as semi-autobiographical.

“A lot of it is true, some of it is not, just for dramatic purposes, some things had to be shifted around,” Eason says. “It’s about 60-40 as far as what’s true and what’s fiction, but people respond to it. When people see it, they think everything’s true. ‘Wow, what happened here? What happened there?’ and I go, ‘It’s just a play, you know?'” Eason has acted both in film and on TV, appearing in the movie “Pride and Glory” opposite Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, as well as in “A Bright Shining Lie,” “ER” and “Boston Grace.” The show, “Runt of the Litter,” opened Wednesday (Feb 10th) and runs through February 21st at the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts in Des Moines.

 For information, visit: “www.civiccenter.org“.