There's a brief moment right after the first half of a play where one sits in contemplation. The first act is over and the beginning of the end of the play is fast approaching. This solitary moment is often distracted by trips to the bathroom or the concession stands. But the savvy few know that this moment is built into a show to give you time to process what you've just experienced. To allow you a moment to readjust and refocus your perceptions. A moment of false finality. In the hopes that when the real finale comes you revel in it.
In England they call it the interval. Interval describes the break in time between two sections of the story. But I prefer the American phrasing; intermission. Descending from the Latin word intermittere: inter meaning “between”, mittere meaning “let go, send”. The intermission then is more than a pre-agreed interruption. A temporary pause yes, but also a meditation.
I'm reminded of the Edward Hopper piece of the same title. Intermission depicts a woman sitting alone in the theater seat fully focused on herself. Lost in her newly heightened senses. Hopper doesn't allow anyone else in the frame. Just the woman, in deep contemplation, alone with her own thoughts, processing.
We occasionally use the intermission as a way to suspend ourselves. To idle and ruminate. Reflecting on the experiences in the previous act. Paralyzed by moving into the next. We're inundated with uncertainty. "What will happen next?" we think. "Can I be sure it will be as good as what I've seen so far?" But the more time you spend in the intermission, searching for answers, then more and more of the show you will miss. But that's all I have for now - the lights have just flickered to signal us. People are filing in around. It's time to begin again. The show must go on.