Robert Segovia, the writer and director of the new comedic two-act play Losers in Space suggests that the play might not exist if he hadn’t lost his job a while back. “I started writing it three or four years ago, and… didn’t think I was a good enough writer,” he says “And I got laid off, which is sad, but it did give me time of like, oh, it’s kind of now or never to write this thing.”
One of the core concepts of the show is rooted in Segovia’s childhood love for a particular style of science fiction TV show. “When I was kid, I used to think I didn’t like sci-fi, but then I realized I didn’t like sci-fi where they travel. I just wanted to stay,” he says. “I didn’t really like the Star Trekky let’s go to these planets [and] fight a monster. I really like the idea of lazy spacefaring. Like you’ve gotten out here and you’re just gonna hang out a little bit.”
He’s interested in the idea of space travel becoming so common that it’s no longer romanticized and it’s just a job. “It’s kind of fun to think of space like… that there will be a point where we’ll be in space so long that’ll it’ll seem not bad, but boring. It’ll just be like, “oh, we’re on this planet. Great. I gotta take out the trash still.’”
That’s the core comedic conceit of Losers in Space – its characters aren’t heroic or brilliant pioneers, they’re regular folks who are kind of bored with their jobs and aren’t that bright. “There are very few intelligent characters in my universe,” Segovia says. “And they are frustrated, because everyone around them is kind of bumbling.”
The characters work at a topaz mining base on the planet Parkor (“topaz is worth in the 29th century exactly what it’s worth now, which is to say not that much,” Segovia says). Parkor is a planet where the natural landscape looks very much like a present-day American parking lot, largely because Segovia and his crew had to film some video scenes of the planet in Austin. “Austin’s nothing but parking lots, so I just made the planet parking lots,” Segovia says with a laugh.
True to its old-school TV sci-fi heritage, Losers in Space is a two-act stage show that plays kind of like a TV show. “I call it a two-act play, but it’s really two episodes,” Segovia says. “If it goes well, we could do more and more and more.”
The idea of creating more adventures and settings and characters for the Losers in Space universe clearly excites Segovia, and is rooted in his childhood imagination. “I [was] a Mexican-American kid who grew up in a predominantly white community, and so I never saw myself on TV,” he says. “So I think fantasy and sci-fi and things like that – writing in those forms, you can kind of project yourself into those, where you may not be able to project yourself into your regular romantic comedy because you just never see yourself in those roles. If the world that you’re living in as a kid is not something that you can be a part of, then you just build a different world.”