Clyde Baldo’s staging was unique in that each of the seven characters remained on stage in quasi-darkness living their lives as the focal scenes played. While we watch Candy explore an option with the local bartender, we see in the shadows the anxious and smitten Jerri, awaiting word from Candy after their night of passion. We see young, naive, Kane pondering his erratic friendship with the elusive David, while David scours the park for a chance encounter.
Her character seemed to have the strongest and most compelling back story. Candy has commitment issues, OCD, anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. She is also in love with her gay roommate. In short, Candy is a hot mess, but we root for her, mostly because we are so thankful not to be her.
The actress playing Candy (Kerri Lynn Miller) is stunning in her tight workout pants and midriff shirt exposing her taut, flat, perfect physique. This led to the one blatant directorial error for me.
Candy leaves the house often, for the gym, the bar, on dates etc. Not once did she ever leave the house with a purse or keys! Her workout pants and top had no pockets and were so form fitting, she couldn’t have fit a piece of paper on her without it showing. A woman as neurotic as Candy would never leave the gym without having the mandatory accessories to fix her hair and make up!
This error often extended to other characters who seemed to enter the apartment without keys. Maybe they always left the front door open like in episodes of Seinfeld, but with all the dubious relationships Candy and David encountered, that too would seem out of character. The only person to ever knock was David’s best friend Bernie (Nicholas Baroudi), who always seemed to be covered in blood (but had keys to his own apartment!)
I really enjoyed the performance of the young man playing Kane (Paul Castro Jr.), the innocent, idealistic busboy who’s admiration for David bordered on hero worship. He nailed the angst, sexual ambiguity and awkwardness of a teen. His innocence and self deprecating delivery made him instantly likable.
My other issue came with a line delivered to Benita (Frances Brennand Roper), the beautiful all knowing, all seeing dominatrix that lorded over the set like a Greek God.
Twice she was asked, “How old are you anyway?” – inferring that she was too old for this line of work. The line made sense coming from Kane who, at seventeen, rightly thinks anyone thirty or above is over the hill, but when it comes from Bernie, Benita asks, “Why do people keep asking me that?” I wondered this, too, as she was stunning, clearly good at her job, and to my older eyes, exactly right age wise for her profession. The idea of having this woman omnipresent during the play added to the mood of impending doom.
Upon entering the theater and seeing the set, one was instantly aware that things were not going to go well here. It was dark and red and there were random words written on the set walls which gave it an eerie foreboding.
Two peripheral characters were utilized well. Jerri (Cassandra Paras) was both vulnerable and creepy as the love struck suitor. Her desperate attempts to connect with Candy mirrored Candy’s equally desperate need to find herself, yet the futility of the situation was obvious to all but Jerri.
Ms. Parras garnered sympathy and compassion with her performance even though she swooped down on Candy at the gym with the suaveness of a hawk.
Robert The bartender (Dan Almekinder) was there to serve the needs of the play and create conflict. There was little known about him until a scene towards the end but Mr. Almekinder did his best to create a full character.
There were not a lot of sunny moments in this play. The people are all damaged and we are watching them further wreck their lives for two hours. The pay-off (though not unexpected) was satisfying.
An evening of theater, that makes you leave with a shudder and with gratitude that you have left this world behind and can safely walk the Disneyfied streets of Times Square!