Entering Profiles Theatre’s small Uptown space, the first thing you encounter is a security guard, who greets you politely and without explanation. This off-putting detail hints at the dislocations to come in Rebecca Gilman’s potent crime-spree drama. By the end of the first fifteen minutes of the play, you’ve seen the car thief Clint (Darrell W. Cox) seduce fifteen-year-old Lisa (Kelly O’Sullivan) over the moans of Lisa’s truck-stop hooker mother entertaining a john offstage, and seen Clint pull a handcuffed girl (Lynda Newton) from under a motel-room bed as casually as retrieving a magazine. Gilman’s first act is a relentless and expert assault, leaving you dreading as much what you might be about to see as reacting to what you’re already seeing. Cox plays the demonic Clint with furied menace and brutal power. O’Sullivan conveys simultaneously the ferocious callousness and wounded innocence of Lisa. Their scenes together mix violence with a dreadful stillness. Gilman’s second act takes an unfortunate detour into “CSI”-land, with seemingly interminable interrogations confirming what we already knew. But O’Sullivan and Joe Jahraus as Lisa’s attorney Carl invest the final moments of the play with tragic poetry. (John Beer)
“The Glory of Living” plays at Profiles Theatre, 4147 North Broadway, (773)549-1815, through November 27.