How to Memorize Lines

Sometimes we have to memorize lines. The more you do it, the easier it gets. The challenge is to keep the text alive with each read. To do so it’s important to own each word. You’ll have new discoveries about the text if you do. Here are a few suggestions on how to memorize lines. I’ve borrowed the exercises from theatre classes I took at York University. They’ll help you if your an actor, motivational speaker or performing on-camera.

Read only the nouns in each line in a paragraph.

Do this a few times until you discover the true meaning of the nouns.  Can you say them with life?

Now read only the adjectives.

Do this a few times until you find the meaning and the energy behind them. Now read the adjectives and nouns together. Then read the entire script.

Read the script passively.

Observe your (lack of) energy. Read the script aggressively and observe how you might be pushing the words. Now find a middle ground and say it as if you were sharing it with someone.

Read the script to a friend.

Say it as though you’re sincerely sharing it with your friend as opposed to “acting” it. The goal is to be natural. A friend or scene partner can help you learn lines. It’s helpful if they ask you questions that require you to answer with a line of the script. I’ve included a video example of how to memorize lines.  I’m using the question and answer method with Andy. G. at Toronto Suncover Sunshades.