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Picks: ‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’ and ‘Night of the Living Dead’

[STAGE] February 2-17

We get the feeling local venues are interpreting the upcoming Valentine-y season the same way The Simpsons often did, going the gory route (Itchy and Scratchy, “I Love Lisa”) in lieu of sticky romance.

Enter Cockroach Theatre’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, Rajiv Joseph’s (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) 2009 play about love and its painful, oft-dangerous results in the lives of Kayleen (Felicia Taylor) and Doug (Shawn Hackler) as their lives intersect roughly every five years from childhood onward. Fraught with sexual tension, self-destruction, a little masochism for the weirdos and plenty of blood (you can’t drop “gruesome” in a title and not have bloodshed or, preferably, zombies), Gruesome Playground Injuries sounds like the kind of play you see with a date and leave weirdly resentful — a helluva choice to follow Cockroach’s “love is the best!” production of Love Song.

Or if you’d rather your bloodletting be more faucet-velocity, The Sci-Fi Center is hosting a Night of the Living Dead screening with a shadow cast (think Rocky Horror Picture Show) at its new location. We’re not sure how you’d necessarily interpret that onstage (is there such a thing as a snuff play?) but we’re pretty sure it’ll be gross. And just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Gruesome Playground Injuries Thursday-Sunday, February 2-16, 8 p.m., Sunday, February 17, 2 p.m.; Cockroach Theatre, Art Square, 1025 S. First Street No. 110, $15-$18. Night of the Living Dead Saturday, February 2, 10 p.m.; The Sci Fi Center, 600 E. Sahara Ave. No. 12, 792-4335, $10