Actors often struggle to memorize dialogues at the beginning of their careers. Perhaps you couldn’t remember the next part of your monologue, or maybe the next line of dialogue just wasn’t coming to mind. Most actors use monotonous mnemonics to memorize their lines. This could be something like highlighting lines, writing the cue lines, and pasting them around the set, repeating your lines again and again while exercising or even playing a recording of your lines over and over while you sleep, hoping that your subconscious mind will magically absorb the dialogue like a sponge.
But needless to say, these are nothing but stale repetitions where you don’t really remember but kill the raw emotion of the dialogue. So throw that highlighter away, discard those sticky notes and turn on your imagination and tap into the unbounded world of your creative mind; your lines will be quickly learned, easily memorized, and instantly recalled.
Understand the meaning of your lines.
It’s difficult to memorize lines that you don’t really understand. So, here’s a trick. First, just read your script once like you are reading a novel. Then try recalling how you connected with that line. Now try reading the script again, this time aloud. Try rephrasing it and adding your emotions, as if it were actually you saying those lines. Keep repeating these steps to give your dialogues and monologues that personal touch.
Just because there’s a comma on the page doesn’t mean you have to pause, similarly if there’s an exclamation mark in your script it doesn’t mean you have to yell out loud!
Listen and react
In the process of memorizing, don’t forget your dialogues are as important as your actions and expressions. Team up with your scene partner and rehearse. Remember you have to react to the actions of your scene partner.
Ultimately, it is the give and take that happens between actors that makes the scene believable, fresh, surprising, and compelling.
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