Xua Xua Productions rings in the summer with a simple question: what makes a man? Is it a job, a relationship, or maybe a couple of small but significant bits of anatomy? What happens when it gets taken away?

When Joe loses everything that made him a Real Man, there’s only one thing left to do: compensate. Thus begins his epic quest to find something that will give him undeniable strength and power. Something that will never wither, grow flaccid, or die. Something that can never be taken away. The time-honoured tradition of a luxury car won’t cut it, so what will? The army? An epic tattoo? Or maybe a cannon arm. Yeah, that sounds about right. Looks like Joe’s getting a cannon arm.

This thoroughly over-the-top exploration of manhood is brought to you through the lens of two women. Just because this is a story about the loss of manhood, however, that doesn’t mean it’s anti-man. Quite the contrary, in fact, “it’s not the story of a couple of women stealing some poor guy’s manhood”, co-writer and producer Andrea Loewen reflects, “in many ways our culture has already done that. We’ve taken away the foundation of the classic male identity without offering anything to replace it with. This story is about what happens next.”

Pair this erosion of manhood with our constant need to modify our bodies, and you’ve got a guy with nothing left to do but tattoo his face and then chop off his own arm. All to make up for something he’s lost.

Loewen and Bryant have been creating and producing theatre and live art events together since 2007. Armed was developed as a part of The Neanderthal Festival’s Walking Fish Showcase Commissioned Works in 2011. Incredibly well-received at the festival, it didn’t take the writing/producing duo long to realize that a full telling of this story required more than the 20 minutes allotted to them, prompting this revival.

More information and to buy tickets at www.armed.eventbrite.com

Pacific Theatre, 1440 West 12th Ave (at Hemlock St), Vancouver, BC runs from July 17-21 at 8pm.