7 Shows for the Anti-Romantic This Valentine’s Day Weekend

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So… Valentine’s Day is coming up, but we realize it’s a holiday that isn’t loved by all. Maybe you don’t buy into the pressures of Hallmark, or you don’t enjoy being reminded of what society says you’re missing out on if you’re (gasp!) single. Or maybe you’re just looking for a normal way to spend the weekend that does not involve stories of lovers sailing off into the sunset together, or are generally keen on entertainment that doesn’t revolve around cheesy romance.

We get it. And we’re here to help. Here are seven shows playing this weekend that we’ve dubbed distinctly anti-Valentine. You’re welcome.


1. Salome (The Basement/Mack Sennett Studios)

Silver Lake, through March 6Info and tickets

While this radically queer reinvention of the ancient tale is highly erotic, “taking spiritual inspiration from the transgressive sexuality of Oscar Wilde’s poetic study of the ultimate femme fatale,” the violent nature and extreme power struggle in this show is anything but “hand-holdy,” which means it makes the top of our list.

2. Inland Empress (Lounge Theatre)

Hollywood, through February 27 | Info and tickets

Why is this show on the anti-Valentine list? Here’s the first sentence of the show summary: Seven years in prison can really change a person — especially if you’re a woman who runs a meth business out of an abandoned horse ranch. 

Nothing says “screw romance” quite like meth. 

3. Neva (Shock Pulse at Theatre of NOTE)

Hollywood, through February 20 | Info and tickets

Winter of 1905. Anton Checkhov’s widow and two other actors are waiting for the rest of their cast and director while unseen striking workers are being gunned down in the streets by the tsarist regime. “A politically charged, haunting interrogation of theater and the revolutionary impulse, Neva savagely examines the relationship between theater and historical context in this ominous and tightly crafted ensemble work that allows a palpable terror to creep through the theater walls.”

This is where we insert the sad face emojis. The setup doesn’t exactly make you want to make out, but it’s PERFECT for our list.

4. Swarm Cell (Greenway Arts Alliance)

Fairfax District, through February 28 | Info and tickets

Quick anti-Valentine justification? This one’s inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Yup.

“Twenty-five years into the future: in desperate need of shelter, a pair of homeless women discover themselves forging an unlikely alliance. In an economy turned on its head, the duo — one deaf, the other pregnant and undocumented — find work in a questionable warehouse intent on preying upon its roustabouts. This cohort of migrants are conditioned to believe the commodities they package hold more value than their own lives. Devising a hive may be their only hope for survival.”

5. Watching O.J. (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

Atwater Village, through February 28 | Info and tickets

Well, since this one’s about the O.J. Simpson wife-murdering trial… we’re gonna let this speak for itself.

“In an urban neighborhood of Los Angeles, on the morning of October 3, 1995, tension and anxiety ran high as people across a wide cross-section of L.A.’s diverse population awaited the verdicts in the O.J. Simpson murder case…”

6. Lear (City Garage)

Santa Monica, through March 13 | Info and tickets

Nothing about Cordelia, Goneril, Regan, Edgar or Edmund scream ROMANCE!, and this is precisely who playwright Young Jean Lee has chosen to focus on in her self-described “inaccurate distortion” of the classic King Lear. “The absurdist, meta results are irreverent, grotesque, and morally harrowing.”

7. Bed (The Echo Theater Company)

Atwater Village, through March 13 | Info and tickets

This one makes our list as honorary anti-Valentine — not because it isn’t about love, as it certainly is. But it’s a rawer, less romanticized version of love that you’d never find in a Hallmark card, with the trimmings of abandonment and betrayal, to boot.

An Interview with CTG’s Sherwood Award Winner, Mat Diafos Sweeney

“I think LA theatre is at its best when it’s reaching across forms and reinventing its relationship to a live audience, and at its worst when it’s trying to fit an existing mold or production model that made sense in New York a century ago. LA is the future- our garden is wilder, vaster, and more diverse so it should be tended differently.”

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Mandi Moss

Mandi Moss

Mandi's been acting, producing, scenic painting, costume designing and directing in Los Angeles since the early 2000's with a particular interest in new works and creative storytelling. She’s a former member of Theatre of NOTE and a current member of Sacred Fools Theater Company. She’s also a proud professional clown and the Managing Editor of @ This Stage.