Andrew Kramer isn’t offering any spoilers just weeks before his drama “Armature” receives its world premiere at Island City Stage in Wilton Manors.

All he would say was, “It’s a political mystery thriller that collides tenderness with violence and follows the rise of an African-American woman and two men at a gay bar. I stress that political mystery thriller aspect, so I want to be careful how I describe it.”

Even after a little coaxing, Kramer remained steadfast, only offering, “My plays begin and end with questions. I don’t think plays should give anyone answers. Plays should generate questions.”

It’s been a long road to the big opening on Jan. 27. He began penning the story more than a decade ago and pitched the play as part of his audition to join the prestigious emerging writers' group at New York City’s famed Public Theater in 2013.

“I was living in a very small town in Indiana and Barack Obama was on his meteoric rise to stardom. Living in a very red state, I saw some precarious reactions to this charismatic and well-spoken man, the way marginalized groups interact and how change is scary to some people,” Kramer recalled. “There were a lot of voices that needed to speak out. That got me thinking about the [characters] in ‘Armature’ and how they connect and disconnect and the play was born.” 

Since then, he was a finalist for the 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop, a former core apprentice writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a two-time semi-finalist in the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Play Festival with his plays “A Map of Our Country” (2010) and “We Happy Animals” (2011). Andrew has also served as playwright‐in‐residence at the Cairns Arts Festival in Queensland, Australia.

The Cleveland native dreams of spending his days writing. Like many artists, he pays the bills with “a traditional career” as a healthcare recruiter, but Kramer maintains he’s still a playwright at heart.

Recently, Kramer traveled to South Florida to check out the theater and meet with the co-directors of the production, Andy Rogow and Michael Leeds.

“Island City Stage is great and I’ve long respected the company,” he said. “All it takes for a scary, little dangerous play like ‘Armature’ is for one brave company to share it with the world, to serve as a launching pad.”

As the theater community struggles to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent emergence of the Omicron variant, Kramer describes himself as an “optimistic realist,” noting that if you look at history of art, great achievements came in the aftermath of plagues and social upheaval.

He elaborated, “When the world has to sort of pause, when communities have to retreat, a different type of discourse happens. It’s no coincidence that since the summer of 2020, with the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, artists are at the forefront of leading new conversations. Stories and storytelling and communal listening are ways we heal and our country as a whole is dealing with significant trauma. I’m hopeful the artists of our world will find a louder voice through this.”


Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors, presents the world premiere of Andrew Kramer’s “Armature,” Feb. 27 – March 27. Tickets start at $35 at IslandCityStage.org.

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