ESPA Drills presents: Carl’s Not Here by Daniel Loeser

Primary Stages ESPA Drills is an annual new play development program providing extensive workshopping, a public presentation, and advocacy within the theater community for four new plays written at least in part at Primary Stages ESPA. A staged reading of Carl’s Not Here by Daniel Loeser will be held on Tuesday, October 3 at 2:00pm.

Daniel Loeser

What is your play about?

In a small Texas border town, Roger doesn’t have much left to lose except the family bar, and now he’s about to lose that. What Roger does have, however, is super-powers, and his nemesis has arrived from a most unlikely place. Carl’s Not Here is a dark comedy about a man who believes he can save the world, even if he can’t save himself.

What inspired your play? How did you go about the research process?

I suppose what initially inspired me to begin this play was the time we lose when we’ve had too much. The idea that in that window between the painful morning and the previous night’s last memory, there’s a version of you out in the world that you’ve had little control over. I think it’s generally agreed upon that that version of ourselves is not our best, so I started to examine the possibility of that person being an even better version of ourselves. Someone that is benevolent and mighty and out for the greater good, but the only present after passing through an intoxicating, dangerous, weak, and ultimately, selfish act.

At least that’s where I began with Carl’s Not Here. It’s been through my classes at ESPA and now looking ahead to continued work in Drills that the play has taken a shape that I hadn’t imagined, and I’m very excited to expand it even further.


Primary Stages ESPA Drills will be held on October 2 and 3, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. All readings are free and open to the public. Visit our website for a full list of readings and to RSVP.

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