Produced an advice sheet a few months ago for my students about how to learning lines. Despite it’s bluntness, it has proved to be very useful. This has been added to a reward and sanction system, where by if a student uses their script after a certain point for a certain scene, or later on in the process, a prompt, then they have to complete a forfeit or if they have learnt their lines by the deadline then they get a sweet. Simple systems, but the work! Another key element is breaking down the script into smaller deadlines, so scene 1 is the first week of rehearsal, scene 2 is the second. Like I said in an earlier blog, the sooner the students learn their lines, the easier it is for them to move up the assessment criteria.
Here are some tips to help you learn your lines.
Just Do It!
Have a scheduled time of the day set aside for this type of work is important if you are serious about performing. Using the time when you are off-stage during rehearsals is also a good idea (and it makes you look good!)
Say It Out Loud
Common sense should tell you that things should be practiced the way they should be done. It stands to reason then that in order for you to memorize your lines you must practice them out loud.
Pay Attention To Cues
Remember that the lines that you memorize will not be performed in a bubble. There are other people involved. One of the mistakes inexperienced actors make is memorising their lines without also memorising the cues.
Learn The Lines In Context
Whenever possible, learn your lines while also practicing your blocking. If you have learned lines and blocking together, then when you are performing, the lines will remind you of the blocking and vice-versa.
Split It Up
Split up your words work into manageable pieces. This could be sentences, words or phrases.
Look For Patterns
Pick out the most important words in a sentence and find the relationship between those words. Are there rhyming words? Does the same letter repeat at the beginning of words? What links one important word to the next important word or one sentence to the next sentence?
Select one or two keys words in the sentence, words that are central to what is being said. In most cases, the rest of the sentence is common sense and you’ll learn it easier.
Use someone else! Get someone at home to help you by reading in the cue lines and the stage directions around you. If there isn’t anyone at home then record your own voice saying the cues etc…
Related blog posts: Dealing with words