Darren Boquist in Armed. Photo by Jesse Caswell.

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? And 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? A 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, Andrea Loewen and Dani Bryant. 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.”

I’ve had the pleasure of befriending Andrea through the Pacific Theatre community. A production with this talented lady behind it gets my recommendation, hands-down.

Both 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. A hit 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.


Dates: July 17 to 21, 8 pm
Venue: Pacific Theatre, 1440 West 12th Avenue (at Hemlock Street), Vancouver
Tickets: $10 advance (online); $12 at door.

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