Saturday, January 25, 2020

Jungian therapist Sarah Berry-Tschinkel offers one-woman play at Charleston’s Gage Hall

These days, Sarah Berry-Tschinkel has a thriving psychoanalysis practice in which she applies her Jungian training to explore the instincts, shadow selves and cognitive functions of her patients.

Are they thinking or feeling people? Intuitive or sensate? And what attitude comes naturally to them? Are they internally or externally focused? Judging or perceiving?

But Berry-Tschinkel hasn’t exactly given up her theatrical life.

She performs a one-woman show about Sabina Spielrein, a fascinating patient of Carl Jung who helped the famous psychoanalyst refine his theories and went on to become an influential therapist in her own right, introducing Jung’s concepts (and some of her own) to Russia.

Berry-Tschinkel will present “Sabina Spielrein: Her Extraordinary Destiny” at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Gage Hall, 4 Archdale St. The event is sponsored by the Charleston Jung Society. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, available at the door.

The South Carolina native grew up in Moncks Corner and maintains ties to the Lowcountry. As a young woman, she trained at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts beginning in 1979, thanks to a scholarship, and found a number of roles in experimental theater productions in New York City.

After NYU, she studied with William Esper, a protege of Sanford Meisner, wrote her own material and joined traveling street performances downtown.

“We would stage scenes on loading docks throughout SoHo,” she recalled. “The audience would travel, follow us around.”

Naturally, she made no money doing this.

In 1983, she moved into a SoHo building and met one of her neighbors, Paul Tschinkel, the video artist and documentarian. Soon they were a couple.

Berry-Tschinkel decided she’d attempt a more traditional approach to acting. She got some soap opera work, some movie work. She made the cult horror film “Evil Dead 2” with director Sam Raimi in 1986. Then the Tschinkels moved to Los Angeles, where the writer’s strike was in full swing and there was no work to get.

Bad timing.

And L.A. really was not their style. They lasted there only a year.

“We returned to New York City,” she said. “By that time, we had kids and I decided I didn’t want to act anymore, so I went to Smith College and got a graduate degree in psychology and social work, then went into private practice.”

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