Saturday, November 27, 2010

ON ACTING: A Tip on Line Memorization

A practical pointer for learning lines: practice learning your lines from the middle of a scene (or for that matter, from the middle of the whole play) at least as many times as you start learning them from the beginning.

As an actor, if you are anything like I am, you generally recite memorized lines intil you make a mistake, and then go back to the beginning and start over.

Do you see what that does? It automatically makes you repeat the early part of the scene many more times than you repeat the latter sections...making the early part of the scene more ingrained more deeply in your brain's muscle memory that the latter lines in the scene (or, as I say, in the whole play).

This compounds the memory dilemma because the latter part of a scene (or, once again, of a whole play) generally requires greater emotional involvement on the part of the actor...which more often than not makes memory more faulty; lines are more likely to be "dropped" in more emotionally engaging parts of an actor's performance; at the end of a scene of whole play than the beginning.

So let us expand our practical pointer to read: for every time you repeat your lines from the beginning of a scene or play, repeat your lines staring in the middle TWICE as much from the middle (to the end); once for pure equity in repetition, and, the additional time to prepare for the latter half of the scene's (or play's) demands on line memorization.


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