After watching a play or a movie, audiences often find themselves in awe of not just the performances but also the actor’s ability to memorize large chunks of text. It is not uncommon to hear theatergoers comment/ask actors, “there were so many words, how did you remember everything?” Most actors have developed their own style of committing words to memory. If analyzed in depth, it would not be amiss to think these actors did so according to the learning style that suits them best. What do I mean? Simply, are you a kinesthetic, visual or auditory learner? For those who have problems remember lines or want to find an easier way to memorize lines, here are a few ways you can do so.
First, let’s determine what sort of learner you are. Try this simple test, get the result and refer back to this article on what works best for you.
Learning Style Test: https://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/
This learning style also known as tactile learning takes place via physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.
Activity: Write your lines down
Anthony Hopkins is a well know kinesthetic learner. He writes each line three times. By the third time, he feels he’s committed the line to memory. Writing your lines down will help you process and memorize them.
Activity: Associate learning your lines with different physical activities (particularly if they are logical to the text)
If your character works in a café, perhaps you can try memorizing your lines while washing dishes, sweeping the floor or wiping the table. The anchoring of your body to a physical activity helps with the memorization of the words because you associate the words with that movement.
“I’m not really capable of memorizing stuff without moving around, that’s how I do it.” Greta Gerwig
This learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images and techniques. Many visual techniques of memorization also benefit kinesthetic learners.
Activity: Combining Visual with kinesthetic
- Find post-it notes of a color that you like. Avoid colors that are too dark or neon as they do not promote memorization.
- Write out the text by breaking it off in sensible places, such as the end of a paragraph, idea, or quote.
- Place the post-it notes in vertical descending order in a highly visible place in your bedroom or living room where you look often.
- Memorize the first sticky note. Do this by not reading the next one until you can recite the first, out loud, five times without error.
- Move to the next sticky note. Follow step four again, this time with both sticky notes.
Activity: Add some colour to your life
Mark your script with different colour pens/highlighters. Circle and underline specific words or groupings of words. Use flashcards to memorize your text. Create the cards using color and pictures in place of text, wherever possible.
This is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning.
Activity: Read your lines out loud
Try reading your lines out loud over and over. This makes it easier to learn the words when you hear them. Avoid any specific intonation so you don’t fall into a verbal pattern or rhythm that will keep you from being spontaneous when you act. When you’re ready to test yourself, run lines with everyone you can (friends, roommates, family…). If you don’t have anyone to run lines with, just record the other characters’ lines, leaving enough space for your dialogue. If you have a smart phone, there are apps designed to help you memorize lines.
Activity: Record your lines
Record your lines and listen to them over and over. Play them on your phone’s voice recorder, on your MP3 player, in your car as you drive or anywhere else where you have time/ability to listen to the text. You can also listen to the recording on loop when you go to sleep. Some people find that their memory works better at night.