Is love an indescribable bond or is it so sublime that lovers never dare to share? Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living tells the darkness that devotion can lead to. It is a grim and disturbing tale, showing that depravity can be mindless inherence to blind devotion.
The story is set in the rural south, trailer-trash country. The protagonist is Lisa (Kate Huffman) who has little to nothing to look forward to. She is seduced to follow Clint (Brett Aune), an ex-con whose misogyny is never explained. These are not complicated people. They are childlike, ignorant and banal. What they do is atrocious. But what makes it truly senseless is that they don’t really fathom what they do. They cannot grasp reality.
There is a twist to the story that I don’t want to reveal. Let us say that twist is the nexus of the story. The second act addresses this issue and all its consequences. The production is outstanding: sets resemble the reality of the environment, costumes are spot-on and the theme draws you in. Directors Alice Ensor and Joe Koonce utilize the actor’s talents with great invention. Standout performance was by Jeorge Watson as a prison guard. It is a great show sans the script. There is no character arc of the story. If the author wanted to convey the emptiness of Lisa, or to validate an epidemic of futility of part of Americana, then mission accomplished, otherwise what was the point?
“The Glory of Living” plays now through November 21 at the El Centro Theatre (804 N. El Centro Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038). For more information, call (323) 230-7261 or visit their Web site at www.elcentrotheatre.com.