From alan t: suggestion for learning lines:
read play straight through.
dont listen to anyone else's version (you are developing your own artistic interpretation)
Get to know your character very well, his/hers attitudes etc. Spend time looking at the scenes, situations , conflicts etc. Understand and visualise the play, and where your char fits into the global scope of the play.
(if you do fudge the lines, improvising could be a lot easier)
Now start the line learning, whether you record and listen, write and read aloud.
Analyse your character
Visualise the play and where your character fits into this
finally: learn the lines.
From Emily: I have a tip for memorizing. I find that writing down the lines while I repeat them out loud helps a lot. If I just say them out loud or type them on the computer, the words don't really stick. Doing those two things helps me out the most-and, of course, not putting off learning my script until the last minute. This is a very helpful site, keep it up! :)
From Julie: I record my lines and those of the other people and then play them back to myself over and over again, which I say my lines along with. I also make another recording with just the other peoples lines in, and the appropriate sized gaps in into which I speak my lines. I use this second one when I am comfortable that I know the lines. Despite having a really bad memory I have found that this worked really well, though a long commute helped (in the car so I didn't seem mad).
I believe that there is now an iphone app called Line learner that works in a similar way though I haven't tried it yet as I am between plays.
From CJ: Tip for memorizing: What has always worked for me is to read each scene aloud. . . everyone's lines as well as mine. . . 7 times in a row. This activates three areas of the brain: visual (reading), auditory (hearing your own voice), and motor (saying the lines). In essence you file the scene away into three different compartments in your brain so that, if you blank in one area, there are two others to pick up the slack. If you forget what the printed word looked like, you remember what it sounds like or your mouth remembers how it should move, etc. . . When the show approaches I also read the entire play aloud once every day to retain my lines and the flow of the story, which also assists in memorization. A benefit of knowing the entire play and not just your lines is that you can keep the story moving if you or a colleague blanks on a line, which inevitably happens.
From Stuart : I must say that all of the above ideas are great. There is actually no definitive way to learn lines.
As someone who's been earning a living as a jobbing actor, host and comedian for many years now I find that each pro has there own technique for line learnin g some as described above.
I know that I am very visually stimulated, some people are auditory, that is hearing is their primary input sense, other physical and are better learning their lines using blocking etc... But for visually simulated people I would suggest the following.
Try to think of the line in visual terms. Let's take a very well known play by a well known playwright.
As You Like It - Shakespeare
Jaques has a very famous monologue, let's look at the first few lines.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant...
OK let's take the first line.
...All the world's a stage,
OK, now think of a stage shaped like a world, painted to represent the continents and the oceans, with lumps and bumps to represent the mountains. And then it starts to rain on you and then sun and wind. Close your eyes and visualize it, really feel it, feel wind, rain, and snow on your skin. Walk about saying the line with the image in your head for about 30 secs to a minute.
Then forget about the line, move to the next.
...And all the men and women merely players:
OK, think of something like a men V women football game, but make it really vivid, the men are running about dressed as knights in armor and are sweating and being very slow, the women are dressed like witches and some are flying about on broomsticks hitting the ball.
Walk about, say the line and think the imagery for 30 secs then move on
...They have their exits and their entrances;
OK, think of a big revolving door, it is marked Exits/Entrances and you get caught in it spinning round quicker and quicker until you vomit, and vomit bad.
Walk about, say the line and think the imagery for 30 secs then move on
The key to this is make each image vivid, extreme, and very personal. So if a character is called Sam, think of a friend called Sam and attribute it to them, but try to do it in a weird, wayout, bizarre and surreal environment.
The key to it is not only to think it but to make it as real in your mind as one of those dream that when you wake up is still with you on the bus to work/school/theatre.
Then, when you recite the lines think of the visuals, try to link visuals of lines that are next to each other, so for our example above
The world (fill in the imagery) is a pitch, for the game being played (fill in the imagery) and you are trying to get in to see it but the revolving door is making you sick.
Does this seem long winded?
The answer is that it is supposed to be, but the images you come up with should be so vivid you will only need to do this a few times and it'll become second nature to do it. I know people who have their own "memory palace" (Google it or try - http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Memory-Palace) and this is a very established technique that memory champs worldwide use to memorise long numbers, decks of cards and passages in minutes.
There is no magic answer, yes, Angelina, Brad, Depp and their Hollywood friends all spend time with their noses stuck in a script and then turning their heads skyward with their eyes closed as they mumble under their breath. They are just actors like you, albeit very well paid, highly talented exponents of their craft they still have to trick their brains into memorising words.
Like anything the more you do something the stronger you neural pathways for that activity become and the better you get at it, the bottom line is your parents were right, practice does indeed make perfect.
Sally forth and win awards!
From Max: Tip for memorizing lines easily: when you are in bed and can't sleep, instead of counting sheep, think of your lines and try to memorise them.
Keep saying it in your mind and if you can, say it out loud without emotion (too much emotion makes you stay awake). After repeating the same lines over and over again, you get bored and will soon fall asleep. This way you can memorise lines and help yourself fall asleep.
Also, research has shown that people usually concnetrate better in silence so unless you sleep in the day, it's silent at night, enabling you to concentrate better. This has worked for me so i hope it works for you too!
From Pete: On memorizing lines: Type out everyline you say in order. Then type out everything anybody else says about you. By now you will have learned much about your character. Finally, type up the scenes you are in and reduce the font size to the smallest readable size for you. Condense the scenes onto as few pages as possible. Sometimes I will even use scissors and tape to put the scenes in columns two to a page, and then make a copy. It may sound weird, but just seeing less paper everytime you go to memorize will help. Its less daunting with huge scripts especially. Break legs - Pete
From Jannie: Here is a huge tip for people who want to learn to memorize lines. What you need to do is have your lines out infront of you so that you can see them clearly. Then you read your first line outloud. After you are done, then close your eyes and repeat it without looking. Then read the next line outloud. HERES THE CATCH. then you have to close your eyes, repeat the first line you said and then say the second line. after a while all of the lines will just start naturally flowing out of your mouth.
From Kate: Hi, I've looked everywhere for tips on memorizing lines, and this seems the best site. The technique that works for me the best is PRACTICING.
I'm 13 and have 175 lines in this play thats really dramatic. I'm on stage the whole play and with everyone else changing, I memorize whats going to happen in that scene. (ex. What are they going to talk to me about? Are they trying to hurt me? Should I act scared, or angry?) This helps me a lot since each character comes and talks to me for a different reason.
And, also, when you read over the script and practice on stage, it's easier to know where each line goes.
From Ann: This is actually a few tips for memorizing lines. Several people have already mentioned making a tape recording. In our plays at the community theater, we go a bit farther. Instead of reading each line monotone and whispering your own, we have several read throughs before we start rehearsal. Once everyone has a sense of their character, we record our read through and make CDs (or tapes) of it.
Since I have quite a daily commute, I can take advantage of all that time by learning my lines. Just play the tape or CD in the car, at work (if you can) or at home. Even play it while you go to sleep, and maybe some of it will seem in through osmosis! It really helps me to get my cue lines in the voice and character they will be in for the performance.
I have another tip for when you need to run lines, but have no one around to help you. Take the first scene of the play and read through it a couple times. Then, take Post-It Notes and cut them into strips, just long enough and thick enough to cover your lines, not your cues. Then, you can read your cues and say your lines out loud. If you need to read the line, just lift the non-sticky side of the Post-it. If you find you need frequent reminders on a line, write a hint on the Post-it and cover it with another. Then you can get a hint, then your whole line if you still don't remember.
This can be a little time consuming, but it has always really helped me out. Another thing this is good for is when you have only part of the play memorized. You can keep your lines covered so you aren't reading them even though you know them (something I often do - if you're already looking at the book, your eyes just jump to the lines, even though you know them). Leave any lines you are still u sure of uncovered. Hopefully, you can cover more and more each day!
Post-it notes are also good for writing blocking notes, character notes, and reminders. I don't know what I would do without them!
I like your site and you have many good ideas. AS an actor, twelve years in theater, I use a basic form of memorization: one line at a time, then add another, and another, and so on. I had a 96 line monologue that frightened me, but line by line, I got it down. I also, once I memorize a couple lines, as I'm walking, driving, and waiting, recite the lines. So slow going and constant repatition throughout the day is how I have become a successful actor.
Well, I totally agree with everything you and your participants have said about memorization. It took me a while to understand that the best way to getting your lines down was to understand the whys and wherefores of the lines rather than just trying to memorize them by rote.
However, there is almost always some spot in a script where understanding why something is said doesn't help me to remember the lines correctly. (Or, at least, such has been my experience.
Usually the problem comes with something like a series of names. Getting them in the right order can be important: sometimes because someone's action depends on a cue. If the cue is one of the names in your speech, and you don't deliver it in a consistent manner, then your fellow actor is left on tenterhooks: "When is he going to say the name? *Is* he going to say the name tonight, or will he substitute some other name (Like he did last Tuesday!)."
So here are a couple of tricks that I have found useful to keep things in the proper order:
This is a memory system developed by the Greek scholars and orators to help remember long passages and speeches. This can be broken into methods:
Rhyme: Rhythm helps lock down a sequence. If you don't say/sing it in the proper order, the scansion falls apart. E.g.: "In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." "Thirty days hath September . . ."
Nonsense phrases: Form a sentence from the initial letters of the words you are trying to memorize. E.g.: Remembering the division of the animal kingdom (in order): Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species King Paul Called Out For Gus and Sam
Remembering the six stages of fertilization (in order): Contact, Entry, Blocks to polyspermy, Activation of cell, restart of Meiosis, and Amphimixis. Count Every Blockhead Acquiring My Amphibians
Acronyms: Make a word using the first letter from each word that needs to be remembered. This works only when the list is fairly short and when the order of the words can't be shifted. E.g.: The names of the Great Lakes by using "HOMES" (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior).
Gimmicks: Word games or tricks to help you remember. E.g.: How to spell principal when talking about a school administrator by referring to him/her as your pal. The rule or belief, principal, ends in "le" not "pal". In flowering plants, the male reproductive structures are the stamen.
Visualisation: The mind records images better than words. So hook the words to an image. As an example, I had a play where I recited a list of names. Let us say the line is, "Do you think I want every Tom, Padraig, Emily, Rachel or George to come her?" For this list of names, I visualized myself coming into my house and meeting people who would represent each name: At the gate in the fence, I see a man beating a drum or 'tom-tom'. [Tom] Walking up the lawn, I pass a man in Irish costume working the lawn with a rake. Being Irish, his name is Pat which gives Pat-rake. [Padraig]. Emily Dickinson sits on the steps reading her poems. [Emily] Rachel from the Bible is in the porch carrying water. And inside the front door, is King George. After I've run through the list a few times, using the visual images to keep them in order, I then usually find the need for the imaages fades away fairly rapidly as the order of the words gets locked down by repetition.
That for mnemonics. Here is another aide memoire:
Yes, those little sticky squares of paper can be a great assistance. You can have a friend help you with this, but it was a rehearsal prompter (or was it the Stage Manager?) who taught me this.
The trick here is feedback. One of the problems with memorisation occurs when you *think* you've memorized the speech, but you've actually learned it incorrectly. If this doesn't get nipped in the bud quickly, you will find it almost impossible to correct.
So, as you are saying your lines, the prompter/friend is following along in the script. When you get a line wrong, the prompter puts a sticky note in his copy of the script at the place where the error occurred. (The small ones, 2"x1.5" are best for this) Ideally, they will have time to make a note of the type of error it was; e.g. Transposition, wrong word, missed, etc.
At the end of the rehearsal, the actors would gather around the prompter, who would go through the script, calling the actor's name, giving the page and line where the error occurred, and passing the sticky note to the actor to put in his script. Within a very short time, your script will tell you which lines you must put extra work in. If there is a stack of sticky notes on that one speech in scene X, you know you have work to do. The big advantage here is enabling you to focus on what needs to be fixed.
A good site. I hope it continues, and I hope that my contribution helps other thespians.
Greetings and Salutations!
I would just like to tell you that I find what you put of so far to beof a great use to me. I would also like to see the part about memorizing your lines... I would appreciate that and look forward to it. You probably have more experience than me so anything would be extreamly helpful.
Thanks for your time.
A photographic memory is nice to have, but since most people lack that particular gift, then memorizing lines is a bit of a problem.
Memorizing is a skill that can be improved with practice. Memorizing a script, especially if you have a large part with lots of lines, can be pretty overwhelming at first. One way to make memorizing easier is to memorize it in small bits instead of trying to do it all at once.
Analyze the script, scene by scene. Read each scene many times. Attain an understanding of what your character contributes to each scene. Answer the following questions:
As you start answering these questions, you will start to uncover the
of your character's lines. (Subtext refers to a character's true intentions which underlay the words spoken by the character.) Understanding the subtext will help make it much easier to memorize the actual lines because you will understand
your character is saying the words he is saying.
- What is the purpose of your character being in each scene?
- What are the intentions of your character from moment to moment in the scene?
- What does your character want?
You might even try substituting the real lines with improvised lines based on the subtext to further your understanding of how the lines are used to reveal the subtext.
As you deepen your understanding of the subtext, you will find it easier to remember your lines.
Attaining a full understanding of the subtext has other advantages.
Another thing you can do to memorize lines is to use a tape recorder. Read the lines of each scene into the tape recorder. All the lines, not just yours. Say the lines in a flat, monotone voice. Try not to use any inflection at all. Record the other characters' lines in a normal speaking volume, but record your lines in a whisper which is loud enough to hear, but noticeably softer than the other characters' lines.
- First, you will be able to present a more in-depth performance.
- Second, if you forget a line you can more easly ad lib.
- Third, if another actor skips some lines or jumps a few pages, (yes, this sort of thing happens all the time) you can get back on track with less noticeable stumbling about.
Play the recorded scene over and over, bit by bit. As you hear your lines, try to speak them with the recording. Talking soft enough so you can hear the recording. As you start to remember your lines, say them louder and louder until you are speaking louder than the recording. If you are uncertain, simply get quieter again so you can hear the recording.
If you combine this tape recorder system with subtext analysis, you should find memorizing lines a lot easier and faster.
I've been acting for about a year now, and went on my first audition last weekend. It was for the spring season here at Brooklyn College, and about 200 people were auditioning throughout the day. I walked in to a room with nine directors staring at me, armed with a monolouge from Brontasorous by Lanford Wilson. I had done the thing off-book for the first time a half hour before the audition, and as I stood there on stage, I realized that I did not know the first line. I stood frozen for a minute, until someone said "Ok John, what are you going to do for us?" I was visibly shaking, and I realized that if I didn't make a move soon I would panic, look like an idiot, and probably cut my own head off later. So I winged it. I knew the shape of the scene and remembered the beats, so I improvized, throwing in real lines here and there when they came to me. Three minutes into it they cut me off, and I knew I was dead. I stood there for a minute, mentally berating myself for not getting the lines down, until I heard a voice vrom the directors pit. "John," it said. "I want you to read for me tomorrow." I couldn't believe it! Then other directors started asking me!So I came back the next day, and kicked ass (if I do say so myself). I got two roles. I'm playing Sylvio in "A Servant of two masters," and Eddie in "Fool for Love."But I don't ever want to go through that hell again. My problem has always been memorizing lines, and have heard that one of the directors is truly anal about getting every word just right. I would like you to teach me some little trick so I can memorize whole plays instantly and effortlessly. I would be truly grateful for this :)
ps. This is the best acting page I've sen on the web. Good job!
Response: Hi John.
Congratulation. Trial by fire. Here is a little trick that will help you memorize whole plays instantly and effortlessly...
Trick # 22.5: Develop a photographic memory
Good luck to you. Let me know...
Oh alright. Actually, you have already discovered two of the most important "tricks" to memorizing lines, "I knew the shape of the scene and remembered the beats."
Understanding the "gist" and form of the scenes
you try memorizing each and every word of the dialog is a tremendous help to memorizing the actual words. Understanding the gist and form can also help a lot if, during the course of a performance, you or another performer skip or mix up some lines, jump ahead a few pages of text or just plain go blank. (Which really happens - even to professionals!)
Knowing what the scene is about, the subtext, the flow, and other such things will help you quickly ad lib and get back on track, often times without the audience knowing there was a mistake made.
Hello, thank you for taking my question.
Question: Memorizing lines. How do actors do it. I am currently thinking oftaking parts in short plays at my church. I love plays, everything aboutthem, I wrestle with the thought of getting invlved or just enjoy watchingand stop agonizing over the want to do it. The memorization part justastounds me. what are the tricks, the methods?Thank you in advance!!
Response: Hi Travarrow,
See my response to "John" re: memorizing. (Use your browser's "find" command to search the AWOL Q&A page for "memorize".)
In addition to that, you can use a tape recorder to assist. This system works well if you spend a lot of alone time, like in a car commuting, or between classes or whatever. One of those little, handheld recorders work well.
Record the scenes in which you have lines. Record your lines and the other characters' lines in the correct sequence, except record your lines in a loud whisper. Try not to use any voice inflection when recording. Be as monotone as possible.
When you play the recording back, listen carefully to your lines and to your cue lines. You will play this recording about a gazillion times. Each time you listen to the recording, say your lines softly along with the recording. As you become more and more familiar with the lines, continue saying them with the recording, but speak louder and louder, until eventually you are talking loud enough so you cannot hear your whispered, recorded lines. If you get stuck, just stop talking and listen to the whispered lines, then rewind to the place you got stuck and continue.
Eventually, you will have not only memorized your lines, but you will have memorized your cue lines as well (and knowing "when" to say your lines is as important as knowing "what" to say.)
You can also use another person to feed you your cue lines and assist you when you are stuck on your lines. Do not become too dependent on them feeding you your lines too quickly when you get stuck. It's best to paraphrase and puzzle the lines out instead of letting them jumping in too quickly to "help" you.
Here is another suggestion if you have noone else but yourself available. Read your cue lines and your lines. Of course, focus on your lines, trying to remember them, but also try to remember your cue lines. Do this in short blocks of text, not all at once.
When you are feeling somewhat confident about a small block of text, cover the lines with a sheet of paper. Pull the paper down the page, revealing a cue line, but hiding your line. Read the cue line, then say your line outloud. Pull the sheet of paper down the page revealing your line to check for accuracy. Repeat the process as often as you need to get your lines down well.
My name is Akiva. I'm only a 19 yr old without a lot of experience (5 roles)but you left out the easiest way i know of to learn lines. Run em withsomeone. Read the scene carefully. then hand your partner the script and havehim read every line but yours, and try and get your lines right. Do thisseveral times until you have the words down, looking at the script betweeneach time. Then do the scene 3 or 4 times in a row as quickly as u can w/olooking at the script once. Happy memorizing
Hi. I would like to suggest trying to say your lines in front of a mirror. This way you can practice your expressions as well as your lines, onceyou have done this all you need to do is tape yourself saying the lines- you can hear how you sound and playing it continously will make thelines stick in your head. Memorising your lines is a hard part ofacting - but your friends and family will always help. Persevere andyou will find that your lines will end up coming naturally to you. Ihope this is of help.
I liked very much your page on memorizing lines, a few things to add...
For long Monologues it helps to learn them in short overlapping pieces. Since with a long monologue you will likely have lines that are very simular, and all on a simular thought, the overlapping bits will serve as glue. In a this way you can look at the long passage as a bunch of short bits where you are giving your own cues.
For very small parts, instead of no cues you have nothing but cues, and very few lines. In this case you may even have several lines, or monologues before your next cue. Obviously you should try as best as possible, and be "present" on stage (because you can be sure there issomeone in the audience spending their time looking right at you, even though they should be looking somewhere else) but also look for"landmarks" to help you get back on track if you drift off (or get too much into character and forget that you are an actor with lines to say). Landmarks are lines you Just Can't Miss, such as Laugh lines, entrances, Lines that just plain stick out. You can use these to keep on track, and should find 3 or so a page, and more just before your next cue. Also it helps to line up your next cue AND your next line in your head Just after you say your last line (before a dry stretch), make a big bright Technicolor picture in your head, that way when it finally come around, you won't have to go searching for it at the last minute. It also helps to do reverse read throughs to work on cues. Have someone read you your lines one at a time, and you give them your cue. If you cannot give your cue without hesitation you may not recognize it fast enough when it comes around.Mix well with a normal line running.
One other thing, learning lines is a personal thing, some people do better with images (a picture for each word / line / passage / scene) than with subtext. Some playwrights to a lot of subtext, some do a lot of images.
On not remembering your lines: Keep character, do not say oops, or (in performance) "Line". Do what your character would do, and if you are really blank, give a Meaningful Look to someone on stage with you, and pray they can dig you out.
Also, The Cosmic Breath: Stay Cool, Take a calm deep simple breath,then go on. The audience will never know a thing.
The most simple but effective method I have used and continue to use tomemorize my lines is by using flashcards.Yeah,no joke! Besides they're areportable and they don't require batteries, they even work with you when yourpartner's not around to practice. Try it! Believe me it will save you a lot ofbrain pain. Good Luck! ;)
From: someone who cares
Hi, I'm not a famous actor or anything, and actually, I haven't been inthat many plays, but memorizing lines has always come easy to me. My tip is to read the play over and over and over again, I know this is boring ifthe play sucks, but if you read it enough you will learn to apreciate yourcharacter more and you will also get new ideas on how to act out thedifferent scenes.
Hey! Remembering lines were never a problem for me. What I do is try to figure out why the character is saying what their saying! What I also do is find out some background on the character, understanding what the character's situation will help you improv (if had to)! And if you can't get it , don't freak and start to whine! Just take it slowly, one line at a time! Jackie;)
My memorization trick is simple. Just read the script a few times and try to just memorize the scenes, what happens in each scene. Then go over your lines, scene by scene. Eventually you will be able to remember your lines. Another trick is to try to memorize certain movements and it will trigger your memory as to what you are to say.
first off, i really appreciate this page, i'm going off to college next yearas a theater major, and i feel much better prepared after reading your page.
i had a suggestion on memorizing lines. i've found with long monologues,especially shakespeare, it helps to paraphrase everything -EVERYTHING- andthen learn the whole thing backwards. sometimes i'll start out fine and thenloose bits and pieces, so memorizing from the end to the beginning helps me a lot. it takes the stress level down a notch as you proceed through the piece. say, learn the last two lines, just repeat them until you coudn't possiblyfeel like a bigger idiot, and then learn the two lines before that, then stickthose two sections together, saying all you have memorized.
it takes longer this way, but it's more effective than anything else i'vetried.
One trick I have used to memorize quickly, is to try to associate key wordsbetween lines. I use either a key word in my previous line, or a word in mycue line to tie the lines together. The association doesn't even have to makesense. For example, I am currently memorizing the role of Charles in BlitheSpirit. One of my cue lines is: "Lovely, dry as a bone", as my "wife" drinks amartini. I then respond with a toast, "To the Unseen". A "bone" is "unseen", therefore it was easy to make anassociation to remind me of the next line. Some are not so easy, but it canreally help if the text is not conversational, or the subject of the textchanges abruptly.
I am an actor in Britain, and have found that visualising scripts in the mind helps. I do this by continually looking and reading through a section of dialogue, and then trying to remember what the shape of the text on the page looks like, what the page looks like, where lines are, almost as if I am looking at a photograph of the page, so that when i start rehearsals I am scrolling down the page in my mind to find the sentences I want.
I have to agree with
. I find that the best way to memorize lines is just to read the whole thing over and over and over again. My friend didn't believe that this really worked, until I pointed out to her that she was able to quote entire scenes from The Princess Bride...Why?... Because she's watched the movie about a billion times. After a while the lines just begin to sound familiar, and you find yourself anticipating the next one.
read the script every night before you go to bed. Memorize it peice by peice. Oh yeah and if your performing on stage think of the whole audiance as a bunch of idiots and that your much more intelligent than they are and your trying to teach them something new.
Thanks for the tips, although I'm not too crazy about the "...think of the whole audiance as a bunch of idiots..." part. However, if it works for you...
Hi! I LOVE your website!! Thanks for all the wonderful information! I memorize lines by finding out who my character really is and who I AM directing my lines to. Example Mom talking to daughter on drugs: How old is the mom, was her mom or dad on drugs, did she do drugs as a kid? why? how old is the daughter? is she the only child? I really get to know my character, who she really is and how she really feels to memorize my lines then I know exactly why I saying these things and exactly to whom I AM talking to. I also read over and over again and put my lines on a tape recorder. But the suggestion of starting to the back and memorizing to the beginning was new to me and I will definitely try that. Thanks for all the suggestions and information.
When I first started acting, I found that memorizing lines was the most dreadful thing imaginable. The way I overcame it was to use the mini-recorder method and continuously play it over and over as I slept. The next day when I had to read the lines just came to me. It sounds silly but it actually works....Try it out!
i have never had trouble memorizing lines! here are my little tricks--
1) Carry your script around with you, whenever you get a chance, look at it!
2) get into character, the more you know about your character, the more likely you will be able to know how they will respond, remember, the most important part is not getting the line EXACTLY right, it is making sure that you get the right information out, and stay in character!
3) type out your lines. get on your computer and type your lines, then read through, and try to think of what the cues to those lines are
these things have always helped me, and i hope they will help you too!
Hey- I usually have no problem memorizing lines. But this last script was a bit tricky. I had to play Evelyn (the mom) in Independance, and she was always bringing up new topics, and never replied to anything. The other character, was always replying to MY lines, then I would bring up a totally new topic and say a paragraph about it, she would reply then I would bring up YET ANOTHER topic and say a paragraph on it.
Anyway, my memorization technique came to me when I went to rehersals of the play, and it was not my turn to be on. I would quietly sit in my group, and take a postcard (or whatever) Cover up your line, read what the line before it is, say your line under your breath, or in your head or whatever, then uncover the card, or move it down and check for accuracy. Do that with all the scenes. A good use of time when you're not performing.
I learned lines as I commuted. I read the lines of other characters into a tape recorder and left the tape running with the microphone off while I read my character's lines. Then when I played the tape back I had the dialogue and silence for my character's lines. As I drove down the road, I could paly the tape and imput my lines at the cue.
Memorising lines came quite naturally to me but I do have a tip. When trying to learn the lines inagine what you'll be doing on stage at that moment. Do this a load of times then stand up and act the part you were just looking at.
I find it hard to learn lines with other people. This is because I get my cue, rather than the actual words the expression the actor says it in. I find other people who don't act monotone it,making it harder. Whilst on stage however hard it is try not to go off your character and think about that fit lad who just asked you out. As soon as you've lost your character you've had it. If you do feel yourself slipping off into normal life stand there and think about what the character would be thinking about. It's quite a funny thing to do, some of the character's thoughts I have thought about have been quite strange. BUT IT DOES WORK! Hope this helped AND I LOVE THIS WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These are my thoughts on memorizing lines: I have found that your performance will be much more genuine and effective if you learn your lines by saying or listening to them with no inflection or feeling. That way, once you develop your character, you will be more inclined to say the lines the way your character, not you, would say the line. Memorize the line, not how to say it. Also, I think that picturing the script in your head and reading from it is not a genuine way to act or learn lines either. Once again, you would have trouble focusing on the intentions of the character and the shape of the scene, and WHY the character is saying what he/she is saying. (At least I do.) Thanks.
Hi I'm 15 have been in a youth theatre program for 2 years now and I find that the best way to memorize lines (especially monologues) is to write them out in the middle of the day,like during a boring class at school, when lines and monologues would normally be the furthest thing from your mind.
Thanks for the memorization tip. We will include it in our lesson,
LINE! LINE! WHAT'S MY LINE? on the AWOL homepage.
Now pay attention to your school work!!!
I've never had any trouble at all memorizing my lines. The thing that you must keep in mind are to learn it word for word THEN to characterize. Read the scene outloud with a friend or your scene partner several times with your script, even if you know the lines. Say the lines with as much variation as possible. If your character says the word "No" several times in a row or in the monolog, scene, or whatever, say it DIFFERENTLY every time. That way you don't get into the habit of any one way and your acting is always fresh and truthful.
To actually memorize well, find out what type of learner you are. Don't know? When your study for a test, do you recall how the teacher explained it to you? Do you remeber certain phrases that you read? Do you think back on how you all walked around pretending to be part of WWII? (I'm an auditory/visual learner.) If you are a:
AUDITORY LEARNER: Record yourself saying the lines, and play it back several times a day, speaking with the recording as you learn the lines. Also, read the lines outloud whenever you read them.
VISUAL LEARNER: Read it with a friend. Take note of their expressions when certain lines are said. Also, recall the place in the script you speak, i.e. the long paragraph on the left side is when Llloyd yells at Brooke. Visualize where it is in the script as you run lines.
PHYSICAL LEARNER: When you read through your lines, get up and move. If the director has assigned you specific blocking (movement), DO IT. If you are the one creating the blocking, move your body in accordance to the words and emotions.There is an acting theory set forth I believe by Stella Adler (sorry if I'm wrong) that the actual action of doing something can invoke the emotion, and the emotion, the rememberance of the line. If you clench your fists and tighten your body, you can make yourself FEEL nervous or angry (this is acting, fellas)and recall the why the character was feeling like this, and how they'd express that in words, which should correspond nicely with the text.
-------You may not be just a visual learner or just an auditory learner. Actually, most people are combinations. (Me for instance.) Therefore, I suggest that you do all three of these learning teqniques, and also because they will help build memorization skills, muscle memory, characterization, and an understanding of the character.
Well, good luck to you all in your acting aspirations, and I'm sorry I wrote so darn much!!! P/S: This is a well developed and informational site. I will continue to check back often!:) Thanks for your time!
Here's what I do to memorise a monologue quickly:1. Read the first sentence aloud from your script. 2. Put down the script and repeat it from short-term memory. 3. Read the second sentence from the script. 4. Repeat it. 5. Repeat the first and second sentences together from memory. 6. Do this until you've memorised the full passege, then repeat it to yourself a number of times.
Hello! a lot of people get very freaked out at the thought of forgetting some of their lines during a play, but for me I always find that if you have gone through your script enough, and know your character it's fairly easy to ad lib until you get back to a point that you know what you are supposed to say. If you know your character well enough you can look at what is happening and react to it just as you think that your character would. If you worked on your script enough you should at least know the outline of what is going on in your scene, and what is going to happen in the near future, and you can usually remember somewhat what you are supposed to say, so if you know all of this you can easily ad lib the parts that are blocked for you. I know this wasn't a question, but I just wanted to share what has worked for me with everyone else.
I have a tip or two for people trying to memorize lines. One if you have a tape recorder you could record your own voice saying all the lines in the play except your own, leaving spaces where your lines would be and making sure the spaces are long enough to allow you to expierment with pausing and other things like repitition etc. Then you can listen to it on your head phones while vacuming or what ever you do to occupy your time, on the bus, jogging . . . whatever. Of course people will most likely think you've lost your mind considering your walking around with headphones on talking to yourself but IT HELPS YOU MEMORIZE YOUR LINES. And that's all that matters. Also you could try covering your lines with small pieces of paper, attached with tape so you can flip them up if you absolutely have to as a last resort. This is, I admit, slightly time cosuming and tedius but well worth it if you are tape recorder less.
I just wanted to give people some advice that has always worked for me. People are always worrying about what they would do if they forgot their lines of stage. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what to do, or what to do to prevent this from happening. You can memorize your lines all you want and do what ever tricks that work for you, but there is always a chance that you can forger everything that you remember while on stage; just go blank. My approach is not to worry so much about burning the lines into my mind so as to prevent any mishaps, just worry mostly about knowing you character. Really get to know the character, know their emotions and the way that they talk, and any trademarks. If you know your character well enough it should be fairly easy to improvise until you get to a place that you what you're supposed to be doing. Of course you should also pay very close attention to the beats and outline of the scene. If you know these three! t! ! ! hings, the beats, the outline, and your character, you should be able to talk from your characters point of view if need be. Again, this is just what works for me.
I memorize lines by using flash cards. On one side you write the other person's line and on the other side you write your line. Number them so they don't get mixed up! Put a rubberband around them and bring them everywhere. That way you can test yourself on them all day, every day.:)
Thanks for the tip. We'll include it in the AWOL lesson,
LINE! LINE! WHAT'S MY LINE? on the AWOL homepage.
I havn't actually been in any plays - as a musician rather than an actor, I find myself in the orchestra - but I know a great way of learning lines. Most of the plays I've played in the orchestra for have had at least one cast. Due to eing in the orchestra, I had to attend every rehearsal for each cast, and by the time last minute rehearsals came along, and especially opening night, I would find myself repeating pretty much every single line of the entire play almost perfectly. I even once picked a character and said his lines (quietly) along with him, even getting the ones he screwed up. I never once realised that I was learning the lines, but I know it was effective, because to this day I can still remember the script to 'The Wizard of Oz', which I played drums for 5 years ago. So my suggestion is this; as well as actively learning your lines, try to attend as many of the OTHER casts rehearsals as possible (obviously on top of your own. If there is! no other cast and you've read this far, sorry, i've wasted your time). Don't sit there trying to learn your lines while you are there, though. Instead, just sit back and enjoy the show, talk with your friends. All the time, you will be subconsciously learning your lines, and will find it much easier to remember them when te time comes, and will also be able to prompt anybody who forgets. Hopefully this will help but, if not, please forgive me - i'm only 15, after all. :-)
I am involved in an acting program at my school. I do solo roles where I play every character and here are some of my tips for memory. 1. Record to script(s) with you saying all of the lines in different accents, then play in the the car when you would normally be listening to the radio. I helps to give you keys from other chacters, and you get it memorized quickly. 2. Read the script(s) right before you go to bed and right when you wake up. The reason behind this is to put the characters into your mind subconiously when you sleep or when you are getting ready in the morning. I know it sounds stupid, but it worked for me! 3. If you have a few days, break it down. Memorize a section per day. Use tip one and just play that one part over and over again until you've got it. The next day work on another section and then add them together. I hope that these help!!! Jen
Regarding memorization: putting something in your short-term memory, especially a short audition monologue, is not terribly time consuming. However, when you are at an audition, on a stage, or in front of any kind of audience, your escalating stress levels can vaporize the lines you were so sure you had down pat (the same applies to song lyrics). Part of real preparation for an audition, off-book rehearsal, or performance, is to memorize your lines as early as possible & to keep them fresh for atleast a few weeks if possible. No memorizing the night before, or morning before you perform. The lines will not be there under stress. And if they miraculously are, you will definitely be thinking more about what line comes next than about your character's objectives & actions. Save yourself a lot of stress & unproductive work by learning your lines over a reasonable time period. Don't fly by the seat of your pants unless being caught onstage with them around! your ankles doesn't phase you!
From Creirwry Vye:
Well, this 'tisn't a question, but I'm unsure of where to post me tip for memorization. There are essentially 5 steps. Take your monologue/scene/etc. and read it to yourself 10 times. Then, read it 10 more times, only this time out loud. The next ten times, write/type it, still saying it aloud. The next ten times you do this, write only the first letter of each word. During these steps, make sure to keep looking at the script and not do anything from memory. For the last ten times, put everything away and say it from memory. Once you use this method several times, it should get easier and allow you to lower the 10 to a 5. I suggest not going under 5, since people who get cocky and think they don't need all the "hassle" almost always make mistakes, miniscule or monsterous, and become disheartened and unsure of a technique which has worked well for them. You may also want to take a short break in-between the steps. This 'tis a good idea for any !
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