Soak Test

Iconic Actress Christine Baranski on Living Moment to Moment and Stamina

A woman sitting with her hands on the table.
Actor Christine Baranski. Photography by HBO/Emilio Madrid.

How has it felt to jump between filming two shows that are so vastly different?

Re-entering the worlds of a show after you’ve been off for many months can take a few days or a week to get back into the rhythm. But no, to my delight I have found it refreshing to go from one to another. You just get into the groove and everything becomes easier. It’s true of anything—playing the piano, playing tennis, swimming, whatever you do.

If getting into the groove gets easier, what gets harder with time?

Stamina is key. We’re a very fast-moving culture, and a lot tries to be achieved in a short amount of time. Performers are often robbed of the requisite rehearsal or preparation time. Negotiating time becomes more of a challenge, and I don’t think it’s a function of age but of the time we’re living in. Learning how to slow down so that you’re living moment to moment and keeping your center is the biggest challenge.

How important is being open to change?

I’ve absolutely loved having the opportunity to work in front of a camera for 13 years, learning all the subtleties that you can bring into a performance because the camera is so closely seeing you. I do hope to return to the stage at some point. I was trained to be a theater actress—to use my voice, body, and language for a live audience. Frankly, I love that I have been able to do both. A lot of film actors are either are afraid of or do such limited amount of work on stage. I highly recommend being versatile, because each thing enhances the other.