LADI AKINWANDE (Fred) is a Brooklyn born artist enthusiast who is currently studying Communications at Brooklyn College. He has worked on the Netflix Series ‘The Get Down,’ several short films as well as a feature film, along with a number of smaller theatre endeavors. He has also worked extensively with the 24 Hour Company as an actor, assistant director, and admin intern.
I first started working as an actor going into my senior year of HS, after giving up football. I was taking classes at the Lifestories program at Urban Arts and was given the opportunity to perform short plays on stage, and work with industry professionals. I eventually want to work predominantly in TV and Film, but theatre is always going to be my first love as an actor. There is nothing more visceral and exhilarating than performing in front of a different crowd of people day in and day out. It is the most artistically gratifying aspect of acting for me, and i plan to always make my way back to the theatre as long as i am creating.
I met the writer and director (Matthew Gasda) of this play on a nice day in Washington Square Park. I was tossing a football with a friend of mine and Matt suddenly joined. I was surprised at how great his arm was and after tossing for a while i came up to him and sparked conversation. I found out he was a writer, and i told him i was an actor, and the rest is history. We spoke for an hour or two that day, and a few weeks later i was at my first reading of Ardor, playing Fred. I am working with such a talented, creative, and fun group of individuals who make the process worthwhile. Its an actors dream to work on a superb script with smart and beautiful people who leave everything at the door and gives their all. These are the kind of stories i want to tell, and the kind of people i want to work with.
Well, a huge part of it is knowing as much about your character as possible. I am playing Fred, who is based on an actual person who is really close friends with Matt and knows a couple of people from the cast. Through them, I have learned a lot about him and his relationship to people close to him. Apparently, I am the complete opposite of what this character is supposed to be, but that’s the beauty of it all. As an actor, I get to bring whoever Fred is, alive, through my truth; and that is essentially what character preparation is. My portrayal of Fred is a physical manifestation of his thoughts, feelings, deepest fears and happiest moments all in one. Oh, and I am also reading the person’s book who my character is based off of, so that helps.
This is a loaded question that I could answer in full detail, but to put it simply life and love are what ultimately inspires me most. Amidst all the terrible things going on in the world, there is so much in life to be grateful for. I am blessed to have a home, education, and plenty of opportunities to use my talent and knowledge to tell stories in all kinds of ways. That feeling that people get when they watch an incredible film or listen to a lovely song or gaze at an abstract painting; that is what I what I want to spend my life evoking out of people. I want to be that source of comfort and escape for as many people as possible. I want to travel the world, create an abundance of art, and spread infinite love. Because at the end of the day, our relationships, and memories are all that really, truly matter.
I am a huge foodie.I can make origami cranes.I did ballet in the 3rd grade for like 2 months.