Axial Theatre is strictly professional. The actors are paid, and many belong to the Equity union. So how does a “civilian” benefit from participating in the teaching arm of the organization, Howard Meyer’s Acting Program? Meyer, a longtime theatre professional who greatly values the opportunity to provide instruction to those interested in putting in the necessary time and effort, explains: “Acting isn’t therapy, but it’s therapeutic. People become more comfortable in their own skin. I have a very particular aesthetic. It has to do with people bringing a deep sense of truth to the stage. You really have to put it on the line. That’s the basis of our training. Plays are composed of highly dramatic events. You have to be able to access very strong emotions from your own life. To succeed at acting, we all have to learn to face our inner fears; that’s a brave thing to do.” To aid in the task, Howard carefully chooses New York trained teachers recognized as some of the finest in the business.
Together, these two branches of the association provide a unique opportunity for Northern Westchester. Audiences can, at a reasonable price, see the highest quality shows and performers here in our own backyard. And classes are available–both for those who want to benefit from what the faculty has to teach for personal improvement, as well as for those serious about pursuing a career in show business.
Meyer remains in touch with the best New York theatre has to offer. In addition to being mentored by Athol Fugard and Kevin Spacey, Howard has enjoyed having celebrities like Art Garfunkel in the audience. Paul Simon has donated money, and TV news broadcaster Roz Abrams was so impressed with her acting class, she went on to join the board.
Success hasn’t changed Howard. His mission remains “to develop new plays.” Playwrights meet twice a month; admission to this unit is a cherished honor. While remaining committed to the ensemble concept of creating exceptional theatre, Meyer always finds room for new people; many a career has started by joining the group. Truth, hard work, and the joy of theatre are the pillars of Howard Meyer’s work with both professionals and students. Who could ask for anything more?
We can look forward to: An April annual benefit at Captain Lawrence Brewery in Hawthorne; Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone May 1-17; a reading of Howard Meyer’s new play Maybe Never Fell, part of ArtsWestchester’s 50th year anniversary celebration; a student workshop presentation of new Axial one act plays in late August. As always, there are weekly acting classes and workshops for adults and teens, including scene study and improvisation. For further information: axialtheatre.org, HMActing.org, email@example.com