Florida Studio Theatre presents the regional premiere of “Kunstler” by Jeffrey Sweet, a revealing drama inspired by the real life and career of self-described “radical lawyer” and Civil Rights activist William Kunstler, who often took unorthodox approaches in the pursuit of justice. Called “Eye-opening” by The New York Times, this engaging play highlights Kunstler’s most famous and controversial cases.
“One of the first things that struck me when reading the play for the first time was just how timely it was,” explained Jason Cannon, Director of Kunstler. “For good or ill, Kunstler blazed the trail for future celebrity lawyers and many of the issues he fought for are still being vigorously battled over.”
A polarizing figure, Kunstler was known for his wild hair, huge personality and defense of unpopular people and causes. The Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots, Martin Luther King Jr., and a member of the Central Park 5 were some of his best-known clients. His critics viewed him as a publicity hound as he often used the media and public opinion to promote the social issues connected to his cases.
In Sweet’s “Kunstler,” the infamous attorney visits a college campus to give a lecture, despite protests breaking out opposing his appearance. Things escalate when Kerry, the brilliant young law student who is supposed to introduce him, objects to his arrival and is determined to confront him.
“William Kunstler was deeply committed to a legal system that couldn’t be bought or commandeered,” said Sam Mossler, who is playing the enigmatic defense lawyer in FST’s production of Kunstler. “He wanted the law to serve everyone equally, even criminals. Anyone can be a criminal, and we are all constitutionally guaranteed a fair and consistent legal process.”
In addition to Sam Mossler in the role of William Kunstler, FST’s production features Anique Clements as Kerry. Both Clements and Mossler starred in FST’s 2020 Stage III opener, “The Nether.” Last season, Clements performed in Great River Shakespeare Festival’s productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Mossler has previously been seen in FST’s productions of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” “Other People’s Money” and “How to Use a Knife.”