March 28, 2011
Gabrielle Scharnitzky offered the most amazing weekend acting workshop I’ve ever attended. The heart of acting is about coming from a pure state of truth. The slow comes in realizing things come more quickly to us, the things we truly desire, when we slow down. When we take time to absorb the moment, our awareness teaches us more than any book, film or other person can. Our inner knowing is housed in our DNA. If we’d only listen.
To cut out the white noise of haste, I screeched my deadline-driven week to a halt. Starting with a Zumba class (think Brazilian hip hop) on Friday evening, I literally danced my way into the weekend. On Saturday morning, I spent two hours on a manuscript, then attended my son’s soccer game only to then have lunch with the family and some quiet time on the couch reading with my husband. The workshop went from 4-10 p.m, whizzing by both days. I left the room a different person. A clearer one who lives in acceptance of what is at any given moment.
The power of slow acting involves breathing deeply and turning the gaze inward. All our answers are there. The challenge is quieting the mind, and the world around you, long enough to hear them.
One of my all-time favorite shows is Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. I’ve always been fascinated by the acting process, the courage it takes, the authenticity it demands. The program showcases all kinds of filmmaking talent, from directors to producers to actors.
In many interviews, you will hear a common theme, especially from actors often talk about seeking the truth of the character. Gabrielle Scharnitzky, actor (Verliebt in Berlin, Sturm der Liebe, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes 2) friend, and founder of the slow acting method, says we must first unlearn the judgements we have about ourselves to uncover the true, authentic self. In a rare moment, I got to sit down with Gabrielle and play James Lipton. Below are both the transcript and the 3 ½ minute video.
Christine: Hi Gabrielle! I’m sitting here with Gabrielle Scharnitzky, the founder of slow acting. I’d love to know from you what slow acting is.
Gabrielle: Slow acting basically is how to unlearn the judgement you have about yourselves. Judging is the source of what I call the fabricated being. We need to function in this world so we don’t allow that which is really there to be there. Instead we are trying to build up another persona that is out there in the world.
Christine: Isn’t that what acting is about?
Gabrielle: No, acting is about shifting gears. Acting is about getting into the truth. To unlearn clichés, to unlearn the roles we have put on ourselves to function in this world. As an actor, you need to transcend that to really get to the truth of things. Which of course when you haven’t learn it in your life, it’s difiiculat as an actor. The first thing is to learn in the day- to- day life, to express what is really there, what you really feel and since we have been trainted NOT to do that, we have sort of created another body. Within that body we behave, we react, we think we are that, and slow acting helps you first to understand what is festering there. All the judgements that keep you from expressing yourself so you learn to experience yourself within your judgement, what it does with you, how it limits you. And then we you’ve expressed that, which of course takes courage, but you learn how to express it and take the courage because you understand this is not me, this is fabricated, this has nothing to do with the truth. So you first express that, and then after that , you can really go deeper to the real perception of yourself and to the liberty to express that.
The good news is when you do that… We always think that if we express ourselves and the truth that we will be killed, that we won’t be accepted. But the good news is when you are authentic with what you really feel and what you want to express in this world, suddenly, doors open. Suddently, judgements dissolve. Suddenly, you are embraced where you thought you would be killed. So that’s the beauty of the whole work that suddenly, you allow yourself to be who you are in this world.
Christine: Thank you Gabrielle, for liberating us all!
**To learn more about the slow acting method, go here.