Monday, October 17, 2022

Spotlight: Meet The Up and Coming Actors of New York's Axial Theater - Daniel Walworth, Marissa Lowe, Torian Brackett, Sandy Oppedisano and Youlim Nam

By Ashton Samson

Meet some of the ensemble cast members of New York's prestigious Axial Theater. Get to know Daniel Walworth, Marissa Lowe, Torian Brackett, Sandy Oppedisano and Youlim Nam.

The Axial Theater, lead by Artistic Director Cady McClain is a twenty-three year old ensemble based not-for-profit institution dedicated to supporting the professional development of the independent theatrical voice through audience involvement and to presenting challenging, intelligent, and culturally relevant theatrical experiences. Visit their website to see what in-person plays they are featuring as well as their virtual events, like Cactus Flowers Play Readings, that can be accessed for free online. Visit:
Daile Walworth
Meet Daniel Walworth

Daniel’s first involvement with acting took place when he was in college and a friend asked him to perform in a play he had written. Daniel immediately loved it, but it would not be until he was forty years old and enrolled in the Howard Meyer Acting Program that he would act again.  In 2014, Daniel was invited by Axial Theater to perform a small role , Medvedenko, in The Seagull.  During that production Daniel found a community that was, at the same time “so talented in their craft and so generous in their spirit,” that he knew he had found a family. 

He became increasingly involved in a number of short and long-form Axial productions and was soon invited to join the company as an Ensemble Member. Most recently, Daniel played the role of Nolan in Robust Admixture, an adaptation of the novel-in-verse Ceive by B.K. Fischer. He also performs frequently in Cactus Flowers, Axial’s regular showcase of original works.

Outside of Axial, Daniel has been working on the original, one-man play, At the Therapist, written by Barry Malawer, which was performed for the first time in New York City in July 2022. His "day job" is a full time job as an executive in a hotel management company.  A resident of South Salem, NY with his wife Meredith and two teenage children, Jon and Sadie, Daniel loves the outdoors and is an avid trail runner. 

Marisa Lowe

Meet Marisa Lowe

As a child, Marisa was shy and sportsminded, yet she was cast as one of the leads in her second grade play, which she recalls “bookmarking” for years to come.  Studying finance and marketing in college, and later working in the garment industry, she could not shake the feeling that she needed to explore the art of acting. 

After a heart to heart with her father, a lifelong musician, Marisa signed up for classes at Howard Meyer Acting and quickly became enamored with the incredible work being done by Axial.  After seeing countless productions, participating in a few staged readings and operating the lights for several more productions, she knew that she wanted to be a part of this very special group.

Currently, Marisa is ecstatic to be part of the team reading plays for Axial’s monthly series, Cactus Flowers, which features new work that has been submitted by a broad variety of playwrights.  She is also looking forward to assisting director Cady McClain in the production of Never the Sinner opening this fall and also participating in the Best of Cactus Flowers production, coming in April 2023, both of which will take place at at the Bethany Arts Community in Ossining.

Outside of Axial, Marisa is a member of the Michael Howard Conservatory where she is focusing on broadening her theater, film and television experience. She enjoys hiking and activities that involves being out in nature.  “Having grown up in the Hudson Valley, I feel spoiled by the beauty here. Being in the woods and by the river gives me peace.”

Torian Brackett     Photo by Lisa Hancock
Meet Torian Brackett

Torian has always considered himself a bit of a performer, but he didn't consider professional acting until  he declared himself a Theater minor at SUNY New Paltz after realizing how much he enjoyed the classes and performing in the musicals there. He first started working with Axial in 2018, when they were hosting play readings in Pleasantville,  which gave him a great opportunity to develop skills and become involved with the local community, all while exploring options for new roles.

A production Torian was thrilled participate in was Axial’s adaptation of Ceive, a modern, poetic retelling of the biblical flood story. In collaboration with Cady McClain, Torian was fortunate to have a role in the filmed reading of the adaptation. “I'm really proud of the team and looking forward to its release!”

Outside of Axial, Torian is sharpening his skills behind the mic in the voice acting world and also devotes a fair share of his free time to gaming, as well as a Dungeons & Dragons group on Sundays.

Sandy Rooney                                        Photo by Leslie Kahan

Meet Sandy Rooney

Sandy came to acting as a bit of a “late bloomer” who had not performed at all until the age of 27. When she became aware that Howard Meyer, the founder and original Artistic Director of Axial Theater was conducting acting classes at The Schoolhouse Theater in North Salem, NY Sandy signed up.

Although she was initially extremely anxious about performing in front of an audience, she intuitively felt, in her heart and soul, that it was something she needed to explore. After taking classes for over a year, Sandy committed to an intensive 2-year acting program at The William Esper Studio in Manhattan. “It was an amazing, life-changing experience that I will forever benefit from–in my everyday life as well as on stage.”

Approximately 15 years after training with Howard Meyer, Sandy’s life took her back to Westchester County in search of a local professional theater company. Ironically, Howard Meyer had recently started the Westchester based Axial Theater. Reconnecting with Howard, Sandy eventually performed in a number of Axial productions and became an ensemble member. 

She just finished shooting a short film featuring the stunning work of poet, BK Fischer, whose book, Ceive, was artfully condensed into a short script by Axial's current Artistic Director, Cady McClain. “ It was a true ensemble piece that was an absolute privilege to be a part of.”

In addition to Ceive, Sandy has participated in virtual performances of one-act plays, as well as virtual readings of original works as part of Axial's Cactus Flowers series. She is excited to be working on Axial’s first live mainstage theater production in two years this fall.

Outside of Axial, Sandy is exploring the possibility of writing and producing plays in the future, while out and about in the competitive housing market as a realtor. She also enjoys reading, gardening, traveling and spending quality time with friends, family and,  especially her husband, Joe, and her “furbaby” Jasmine.

Youlim Nam                 Photo by Nicole Lehrman
Meet Youlim Nam

Youlim always loved singing and dancing on stage, even as a young child. Although she wanted to attend a performing arts high school, her very conservative Korean parents discouraged her, instead requiring that she find a real "job.” Youlim did not give up,  joining a theater club in high school and finally  majoring in performing arts in college in Seoul.

She became involved with Axial when she was made aware that artistic director, Cady McClain was searching for an Asian actor for an upcoming play reading series. Working with Cady through the project, Youlim instantly sensed her extraordinary talent and wanted to collaborate with her more. She submitted some of her own original plays for review and was thrilled to learn that her play, Last Birthday, was selected for an Axial reading series and that she was cast in a role she had written.

Shortly thereafter Youlim became an ensemble member and recently performed in an film directed by McClain, Robust Admisture, a timely adaptation of the book, Ceive, by BK Fischer, which addresses climate change and the struggle to survive. To prepare for the role, Youlim watched many of Greta Thunberg's speeches and got in touch with a wide range of emotions, including deep compassion for mother earth. She is proud to be part of this film because she believes it can alert people to the severity of the climate crisis.

Additionally, Youlim participates in Axial’s monthly reading series called Cactus Flowers.  Her strong commitment to varied projects such writing, painting and filmmaking leaves her little free time, but when she does have a moment, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with loved ones. Although living in New York City is a creative inspiration for Youlim, she views spending time in nature as essential, because “You learn so much from our mother earth. Nature itself is art.”