Meet Ben Sterlin
“Art holds a mirror up to life. It puts everything into context, so you really have to know what is happening in the world around you in order to reflect it in your practice.”
The stage empowers audiences to come together and embrace the shared human experience. In a darkened room with all eyes on him, Ben Sterlin extends the surreal moments beyond the bright lights into reality.
Ben insists that the arts are critical in enriching the human experience. “It’s partially because they reflect the universal in its best and worst forms. The raw honesty that comes out of good theatre is inspiring and also universally applicable.”
In order to truly portray a character, an actor needs to be an informed citizen, Ben believes. “Art holds a mirror up to life. It puts everything into context, so you really have to know what is happening in the world around you in order to reflect it in your practice.”
Art in any form, Ben explains, expresses an understanding of the human condition. “The artist is responsible to take what they’re learning from the world, and stylize it on stage in a way that gives the audience an understanding of what they’re seeing beyond intellect. It has to hit some sort of realm of visceral emotion.”
Once the emotion is evoked, Ben has seen audiences leave empowered through empathy to communicate better with others. “With more cooperation that stems from a mutual understanding of one another through open and honest communication, we would be able to get many more things done and the world would be in a better state.”
While authentically portraying a character, the connection between an actor and the audience plays a crucial role in the impact of the art. “There’s something about sharing an experience with audience members in a darkened space. The audience and the actor work symbiotically; neither can exist without the active presence of the other. Those moments open up a lot of important and useful discourse between human beings.”
Art doesn’t only make an impact on its audience, but gives the actor the opportunity to delve into the being of their own creation. “There are rare moment onstage when you forget the audience is there, and you just escape yourself for a 2-3 hour time period. You simply step into the being and consciousness of someone else, and that someone else is actually up to you. You get to create who you become, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
Ben hopes to spark change in the audiences he reaches and to continue to provoke meaningful reactions both from himself and others through art.
Ben Sterlin grew up in Toronto and completed his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Arts Management at Queen’s University. Ben hopes to continue acting and work as an artistic director of a theatre company.
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Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Adina Samuels