Tips for Memorizing Your Lines

Let me guess…you’ve just earned an important role in an upcoming drama or play and the most you’ve ever had to memorize is the date of your anniversary or the number to unlock your iPhone (which happen to be the same, right?) Here are three keys to the proverbial memory bank that I have found to be helpful:

Key #1: Have a game plan for memorizing

Just as you wouldn’t eat a Fat Moe’s Super Deluxe hamburger with all the fixin’s without a game plan, approach your script in the same way. Read through the whole script and prioritize your lines according to length, difficulty, etc. Don’t forget about scenes with complex blocking…you won’t want to be concentrating on lines during that sword fight in the garden of gethsemane scene.

Key #2: Divide and conquer

This ties in with key #1. Have 6 weeks to prepare? Organize your lines so that you’ll have them memorized by week 5 (you don’t want to be learning lines at the dress rehearsal right?) Have one week to prepare? Well then you must be at my church.

Note: Don’t forget to consult the rehearsal schedule when doing this. There’s nothing worse than showing up prepared for scene #1 when the first rehearsal is looking at the finale.

Key #3: Know thy learning style

Okay so I paid good money to learn this tidbit (and I’m still paying monthly for it) and here ‘tis: we all have a different learning style. Chances are good that you learn either by hearing something, seeing something or doing something. Figure out which style works best for you and use it to memorize your lines.

I happen to be an ‘aural’ learner which means that I learn best by listening. Knowing this, I always try to secure some recording of my play or drama (even if it has to be homemade) and listen to it in my car. After a few trips to the Bass Pro Shop, I’ve usually memorized most of my lines as well as the lines around my lines. In fact, I’ve memorized an entire Debbie Gibson album this way…but I digress.

If you’re a director, one of the best things you can do is make a recording of a read through and hand it out to your team. I promise you’ll be amazed how much your folks can learn during their morning commute. If you don’t know how to make a recording, ask your fifth grade nephew how to use Garageband, I’m sure he’ll be happy to help in exchange for some animals on Farmville.

For the budding or blossomed thespian, the task of memorizing large quantities of lines can be as difficult as…well…I forget. Hopefully these tips will help you and your team “Shake your love” for Jesus the next time you deal with a longer script. Have fun and always remember the spotlight belongs to God.

Have some drama questions? Leave a comment below and we'll address it here in the blog!

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