Intermission is Over

by Ryan Benson

Not last night but the night before, I felt the Avett Brothers perform. And that sounds stupid and contrived, but there's no other way for me to put it. I was there, and my aunt was dancing--really dancing--beside me, and everyone was standing, and on stage a man with glasses was playing a cello. And that last part is important, because I've never seen a person be on a stage the way this man was being on a stage. I felt him as he felt my aunt dance. I felt him as he felt my hair, still wet from showering, beat against my back when I swayed. I felt him as he felt people watching him from every crook of the amphitheater. I felt him as he felt his bandmates sweat and sing. This man with the cello was not performing, he was being, and in that there was revolution. In his An Actor Prepares, Stanislavski discusses how in order to captivate an audience, an actor must be on stage in his most natural state; he teaches that when one is on stage she must remember to simply be. And that was what this cellist did. This was not a concert, it was an exchange. An exchange of music, of respect, of a desire to feel and be felt.

Avett Brothers concert 7.8.16
For a long time, I performed on YOUTH. Sometimes, my performances—my posts—were pure and true and felt and were felt. Other times, though, I put on gimmicks and what I wrote or what I photographed was more entertainment than art. And I struggled with this. My creation for YOUTH did not fuel me in the same way that other types of creation fueled me, so I stopped. I spent some time backstage. I worked on other stuff. And in the past months what I’ve realized is that intermissions are important. To nurture a desire for creation, healing is necessary. Before, I did not understand how to simply be on stage the way the cellist for the Avett Brothers is on stage. Yes, before, I was so focused on being felt that I did not try to feel.

Intermission is over. YOUTH will be different, so know this. Expect this. YOUTH will be closer. It will be more like this cellist for the Avett Brothers. It will be an exchange of love, of respect, of a desire to feel and be felt. And in that, there is revolution.