IN the early-1980s, the American visual artist Barbara Kruger created a number of works in which photographic images (including one in which dinner suited men were larking about together) were juxtaposed with the legend “you construct intricate rituals which allow you to touch the skin of other men”.

This sharp observation of the emotional and physical repression inherent within dominant notions of masculinity could have been the inspiration for Until It’s Gone, the short drama that kicks off the new season at Glasgow’s lunchtime theatre A Play, A Pie and a Pint (PPP).

The piece is written by Alison Carr, produced by PPP and co-presented with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in association with Scotland’s women’s theatre company Stellar Quines.

The play, in which two men of different generations meet for the first time, is set in a future that is remarkably familiar (think poorly-maintained park benches and government apps on smartphones).

The National: Lost in 
a man’s 

The two characters (played with convincing diffidence and nervousness by Billy Mack and Sean Connor) have been brought together by a government scheme by which men are legally required to establish contact with other men.

Under threat of a fine or, ultimately, imprisonment, the guys have filled in the online form on the state-run app and, instructional government pamphlet in hand, find themselves encountering each other at the agreed place (namely, a somewhat dishevelled bench in their local public park).

This might seem like an unlikely collision between the gay dating app Grindr and fascism, but the central conceit of Carr’s play is of a different order from that.

The men on the park bench have been compelled to meet, not for sexual purposes, but because their society – from which women became suddenly extinct some years ago – is teetering on the brink of emotional and psychological implosion.

At its most interesting, the piece explores the generational tension between the men, as the younger man (who can’t even remember a world with women in it) blames the older generation of men for the misogyny that led to the disappearance of the female sex.

That said, there is a passage in the play in which Carr is more explicatory than she need be with regard to the political point she is seeking to make.

Such finger jabbing is only momentary, however, and is leavened by the humour and humanity of both the writing and the acting.

The older man’s panic of physical contact is as believable as it is funny. Likewise the Samuel Beckett-style use of bananas as props that are both intrinsically comic and inherently theatrical.

Indeed, Mack and Connor function excellently as a bleak, music hall double act.

Mack’s heartfelt and anguished memories of his wife are full of pathos.

Connor’s indignation and bewilderment are reminiscent of the emotional homelessness of the Lost Boys in JM Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan.

This all-male mini-drama is an interesting, often engaging and sometimes thought-provoking choice for Stellar Quines director Caitlin Skinner.

At Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, February 28 to March 4: