Illustration of a hand holding a phone with an orange emjoi on it in front of a lighted laptop screen. Iowa New Play Festival. Basically Children. By Charlie O'Leary. Directed by Natalie Villamonte Zito.

Basically Children

By Charlie O'Leary
Directed by Natalie Villamonte Zito

Friday, May 6
5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
David Thayer Theatre

In a Midwest college town, two freshmen flirt, find themselves, and debate the intricacies of queer life. But when one of them connects with the town's mayor on a dating app, their conceptual discourse leads to dire consequences. A new gay play about an old gay myth.

This production contains explicit language, including a homophobic slur; discussions of sexual assault, pedophilia, and suicide; depictions of self-harm.


A college town in the Midwest: a (relatively) progressive oasis with a population of about 100k. The Biden years, post-vaccine.

Special Thanks

Thank you to the amazing actors who presented a reading of this play in the Iowa Playwrights Workshop: Derick Edgren Otero, Jeremy Geragotelis, Emille Lacsa, Arlo Schneider, and Margo Skornia. Thank you also to everyone who provided feedback on that draft: faculty members Meredith Alexander, Art Borreca, Lisa Schlesinger, and Jen Shook; as well as MFA cohort members Rob Silverman Ascher, Ikram Basra, Olivia Clement, Derick Edgren Otero, Nate Ferguson, Sarah Gazdowicz, Jeremy Geragotelis, Amanda Keating, Ann Kreitman, Christopher Lysik, Valerie Muensterman, Jarek Pastor, Isaiah Reaves, Lorenzo Roberts, Emma Silverman, Margo Skornia, and Natalie Villamonte Zito. Additional thanks is owed to actors Demi Makeig and Sam Nie for their work on a developmental workshop reading of the play.

Thank you to Bruce Jones, Arlo Schneider, and Wren Stone, who served as script consultants early in the play’s life cycle; to John Michael DiResta, who provided dramaturgical feedback on many, many drafts; to David Díaz, Joey Doyle, Aislinn Frantz, Ken Greller, Karl Hinze, Pierce Livingston, Eileen Lynch, Clara Ritger, Peter Ruiz, Joshua Whitaker, and David Zellnik, who offered notes at various points throughout the process; and to Megan Gogerty, in whose class I wrote the short play that became the seed of this one.

Thank you to Daniel Boguslaw, Ryan Grim, and Eoin Higgins of The Intercept for their reporting on the sexual misconduct allegations against Alex Morse; and to Palmer Haasch of The Verge and Mark Opera of Cincinnati CityBeat for their reporting on amateur pedophile hunter groups.

Thank you to Jordan Jones, Elizabeth Sarsfield, and Sophie Young for their help on the stage management process.