“Freddy was addicted to that moment between the body’s rise and fall.” — FREDDY, by Deborah Lawlor
Freddy Herko was a beautiful, talented dancer, a co-founder (with Diane di Prima, Amiri Baraka, and choreographer James Waring) of the New York Poets Theatre, and—with Lucinda Childs and Yvonne Rainer—a charter member of Judson Dance Theater.
At Warhol’s factory, he was introduced to the wonders of methamphetamine. A runaway addiction commenced, which ended in 1964 when Freddy—age 28, but aging fast—took a great, naked leap into the blue from a fifth-floor loft in Lower Manhattan, the highly amplified sounds of Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” following him out the window.
Herko’s ballet days and Factory nights are revisited in FREDDY, Deborah Lawlor’s 50-minute fantasia—part theater, part dance, part happening. Lawlor (a co-founder of the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles) was an intimate of Herko’s in the ’60s, and knew all of the characters who dance through her piece: Waring (Mel England), Billy Name (Connor Clark Pascale), Ondine (Justice Quinn), Rotten Rita (Jesse Trout), etc. In the title role, Marty Dew ably captures the energy and waste of Herko’s fast trip and long drop, but the piece is anchored by Lawlor’s alter ego—a narrator called “present-day Shelley”—played with grace by former dancer and veteran actor Susan Wilder.
FREDDY—a Fountain Theatre production, playing off-site at the Los Angeles City College’s Vermont Avenue campus—is directed by Frances Loy, with choreography and movement direction by Cate Caplin.
FREDDY, through October 14.
CAMINITO THEATRE, LACC, 855 North Vermont, Los Angeles.
See Tim Teeman, “The Life and Dramatic Death of an Avant-Garde Hero,” The Guardian, October 23, 2014:
Fred Herko dancing on rooftop in Manhattan in the early 1960s; Freddy, with Jesse Trout (kneeling left), Connor Clark Pascale (standing right), Justice Quinn (below Pascale); Marty Dew as Herko in Freddy; Herko.
All Freddy photographs by Ed Krieger.