Candyce Synopsis

ACT I 

SCENE 1 
Cliff’s loft, Mario’s apartment. Mario and Cliff are getting dressed for a Friday night out. The two men are reflecting on their very different circumstances – Mario lamenting how his career as a professional fighter was a failure due to his disillusionment with making money from brutality, while Cliff, wealthy and successful, looks down on the world from a lofty perch and sees himself as a prince of affluence and destiny (Only Game In Town)
SCENE 2 
Cliff and Lila’s penthouse apartment, one hour later. Lila is in her living room getting high with a couple of friends. As they are preparing some drug paraphernalia, Lila looks out the window rueing how her marriage to Cliff has devolved into estrangement and drift, leading her into a life of material comforts and empty thrill seeking through substance abuse (Dirty River)
SCENE 3 
A popular upscale bar, later that evening. Cliff and Mario are in a bar having drinks with different groups of friends (Soirée). Candyce enters the room to considerable attention, well-known and feted by her crew of friends and admirers. Cliff and Mario are smitten with her, their eyes riveted as she basks in the attention of her social circle (Candyce). Mario tries to introduce himself, but Cliff aggressively elbows his way in-between them and engages with Candyce in a wary, sparring flirtation (Power Plays). With wounded pride, Mario makes to leave the bar but Candyce catches up with him and apologizes. Mario predicts that while she seems to prefer Cliff and his money, the two of them have some undeniable chemistry that suggests some future involvement (Don’t Go Away Mad).  

ACT II 

SCENE 1 
Cliff and Lila’s penthouse, one month later. Lila is wandering listlessly through the rooms of the apartment, high and reflecting on how far into the ether she’s gotten (In A Dream). 
SCENE 2 
Candyce’s loft, the same evening. Cliff is lasciviously obsessing over what a prize he thinks Candyce is (Jewels). Candyce counters by keeping her distance and coyly letting him know she is not his object to possess, and initiates an erotic episode where she makes clear that she is the one in control of the relationship (Dark of the Sun). Meanwhile, Mario is on the street outside Candyce’s loft. As he waits for a taxi, he looks up longingly at her curtained window and goes into a reverie about what it might be like should they ever come together (Inside Looking Out)
SCENE 3 
Cliff and Lila’s penthouse, the next evening. As Cliff furiously catches up on work he’s been neglecting from spending too much time with Candyce, Lila reminds him of her loyalty, her value, and her love for him (Tool). Cliff responds with nasty exasperation, accusing her of holding him back with her neediness (Gravity, Gravity)
SCENE 4 
Candyce’s loft, two days later. Candyce’s relationship with Cliff has turned caustic and unmanageable owing to his obsessions and relentless attempts at control. She contrasts what her life is like with him to what it could be like with the more innocent Mario, craving the freedom to go it alone without a patron-lover and at liberty to make her own choices without being in anyone’s debt (To Be Alone).

ACT III 

SCENE 1 
Candyce’s loft, two weeks later. Candyce and Mario are in bed together, their chemistry suggesting a beginning as life partners (Heart-Shaped Box). Their tryst is interrupted by an unexpected text from Cliff announcing that he’s only a few blocks away and is coming over. Mario hurriedly dresses and leaves by the fire escape, but when Cliff arrives he knows instantly that another man has come into Candyce’s life and explodes into a violent, abusive rage. He beats Candyce viciously and delivers threats as he leaves her loft (Crazy Tree). Candyce blacks out for a short time, awakens in a daze and summons Mario with a text message (Abused). While waiting for Mario, she vows she will never again be the victim of physical abuse at the hands of a man (Defiance). When Mario returns to the loft and Candyce tells him what has happened, he swears vengeance upon Cliff (Strange Contradiction). 
SCENE 2 
Cliff’s loft, later the same evening. Mario confronts Cliff about the beating and the two trade threats and taunts. Facing certain violence, Cliff produces a handgun and taunts Mario for his loyalty, but Mario slaps the gun out of Cliff’s hand and proceeds to deliver him a beating (Payback). When Cliff falls unconscious, Mario thinks he has killed him and flees the scene in panic, leaving behind a beanie stained with blood. Meanwhile Lila, who has been looking for Cliff, shows up at the loft and finds him on the floor, bloodied and dazed but still alive. In his confusion he calls out for Candyce. Enraged, Lila has a vindictive emotional meltdown, grabs a pillow and suffocates Cliff with it (Finally, You Need Me). Before leaving the scene, she replaces the pillow to the bed and lays Mario’s beanie upon it as evidence for the police. Unbeknownst to Lila, both Cliff’s beating and his murder have been captured by his hidden security cameras. 

ACT IV 

SCENE 1 
Candyce’s flat, two days later. Mario meets Candyce and tells her that he thinks he has killed Cliff. Candyce is incredulous but touched, and his defense of her cements her loyalty to him (What Have You Done?). Exhausted from a pair of sleepless nights on the run, Mario reflects on how his perspective on love and loyalty has changed since he renounced fighting for money and sees his purpose in giving himself to another (Hideout). As he drifts off to sleep, Candyce reflects on her own dark past – when still in her teens she had killed her stepfather who had abused and molested her for several years. She longs to escape with Mario so that the two of them can somehow reinvent themselves (Getaway)
SCENE 2 
Cliff and Lila’s penthouse, four days later. Lila is waiting for guests to arrive for Cliff’s memorial. There is a photo of Cliff above a table laden with flowers and Lila sings to his image recounting how his infidelities and cruelty gave her just cause to kill him (Assisted Suicide). As the guests arrive, her grip on reality slips away and she begins to assume Cliff’s personality while addressing the mourners – ranting about her submissive position in marriage with sneering disdain and glorifying in the wealth that will come into her hands once Cliff’s estate is settled (Radiant Light). Following this outburst, police detectives appear on the fringe of the memorial crowd to take Lila into custody. 
SCENE 3 
Candyce’s empty loft, the following day. Candyce is relieved by the news of Lila’s indictment of murder and sings of the future she imagines is in front of herself and Mario (Candyce II). Mario arrives at her flat, they gather their bags and some mementos and pledge themselves to one another for the journey ahead (Released).  

CAST

Candyce

PHOEBE STREET

Phoebe Street (soprano) is a performer from London, UK. She holds a BA from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has been in workshops with The Soho Theatre, The NT Studio, and The Old Vic. Her credits include Les Misérables (West End), Tori Amos’s The Light Princess (The National Theatre), Calamity Jane (UK), and Legally Blonde (UK & International).

Mario

CALVIN ARSENIA

Calvin Arsenia (tenor) is a singer, harpist, and author from Kansas City, MO.  He is known for his elaborate and ceremonious sensory concert experiences that merge jazz and electronic influences. Voted Kansas City’s Best Musician 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 (PitchKC), and featured on Billboard.com, NPR.org, NEWNOWNEXT, Pride.com, and GRAMMY.com.

Lila

CHARISSA WHILLOCK

Charissa Whillock (coloratura soprano) is a crossover singing actress from Austin, TX. She holds two degrees in Vocal Performance (Texas State University, Wichita State University) and coaches industry professionals how to facilitate creativity as working performers. She also hosts a weekly free live streaming show where she sings anything from Mozart to Mazzy Star.

Cliff

S.FAIRBANK

S.Fairbank (baritone) is a composer, producer, musician, and writer. A solo artist long active in the music scenes of San Francisco and Los Angeles, he has a long history as an innovator in avant-alternative musical performances involving electronic music fused with video, film and theater. 

In live performance he has appeared on bills with a diverse array of artists including Annie Lennox, Gus Gus, Nels Cline, Jane’s Addiction, Karen Finley, The Minutemen, Cluster, Carla Bozulich, Holder Czukay, and Devin Sarno.