Monday, January 07, 2008

Is it Memorex?

People sometimes ask how I memorize entire scripts, or how I learn my lines for a show. I use the same tactics that many people use to study for a test.
• I look over the script in sections, or scenes, trying to become familiar with little bits at a time, kind of like studying one chapter of a textbook at a time.
• I look over my lines right before bed so that I think about my lines or dream about the script while I'm dozing. This really works for me, much like looking over material the night before a test.
• As I get more familiar with a script, I start using an extra sheet of paper over the script to hide the next line from myself, I say what I think the next line is aloud. If I get the lines right, I move on down the page, but if I miss a line, I repeat it aloud five times before moving down the page. This is similar to using flashcards to study material.
• I learn the whole script, not just my lines. You never know when you or a fellow actor will forget something. As actors, you have to know your own lines and other character's' lines in case you need to help each other get back on track, or throw out a reminder. When you're studying for a test, you review all the material, not just the words printed in bold lettering, because you don't know exactly what you'll be asked on a test.
• Practice, practice, practice.

I'm lucky that I have a good memory and pretty quick recall when it comes to things that I hear or read. It's obnoxious that I can "parrot", or imitate, people's voices and facial expressions, but it totally comes in handy on stage when I want to make quirky characters seem more real.