Remembering Your Lines

By Darryl Green

  • Top Ways to Remember Your Acting Lines
    The fastest ways to remember large scripts and monologues…

    Remembering lines can be one of the most challenging things for any actor, especially the lead. With all the lines and scenes and beats and emotion changes, some actors spend weeks and even months learning their acting lines. But you don’t have to. While every actor learns differently and needs to find his/her own method, the following techniques can be very helpful in learning your acting lines in no time.

    1. Recite them out loud and with movement

    Silently reading lines from a script is not a very effective way to learn and remember lines. That’s because, silently reading your acting lines doesn’t do enough to stimulate the senses that allow us to learn efficiently. Sensory stimulation while learning has been proven to be far more effective than just reading.

    Reading your acting lines out loud and with movement forces you to vocalize, as well as hear, the words for faster learning and memorization. Further, the movement puts your words into actions; actions that help you remember the lines more easily.

    2. Say them with an acting partner

    Even if you have to make your mother play the opposite acting role, rehearsing with a partner is much easier than learning alone. Reciting lines with a partner helps you interact to remember cues and beats better and remember how your character fits into the overall scene. Further, saying lines with an acting partner allows you to remember a lifelike, three-dimensional scene, instead of a group of static lines.

    3. Say them using different emotions

    Recite funny lines seriously and serious lines comically. Speak loud lines softly and soft lines loudly. Say tearful lines laughingly and laughing lines tearfully. This allows the actor to stretch his/her ability to say and remember the lines without the necessity of being in character.

    4. Record yourself

    Say your lines into a microphone and record them. Then listen to yourself in character while you jog, ride the subway, or take a nap. In essence, take your character and your lines wherever you go. Even if you cannot speak or recite your lines out loud, you can still listen to them.

    5. Recite them at different speeds

    Say them fast, and then say them slowly.  This “change-of-pace learning” forces you to remember the lines and only the lines, instead of simply remembering the way in which you have always said the lines.

    6. Recite lines in odd places

    In the car, walking the dog, in the shower, or wherever you go, take some time to recite some of your lines. Changing scenery, locations and stress levels present great opportunities with which to activate your memory.

    7. Play a game

    Consider how Kindergarten children learn, remember and develop quickly, even at the early stages of their lives. They use flash cards, pictures, sounds, music and games to learn, all of which stimulate various senses, helping them learn much faster than if they simply read a children’s book or have one read to them. You can:

    Use index cards as your “flash cards”

    Use improvisation as your “games”

    Use visualization of the acting scene as your “pictures”

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