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Drama: How to learn your lines

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Drama: How to learn your lines

Avoid the real-life drama of forgetting what to say: get them so deep in your brain that they never ever leave.

There are many elements to a performance – movement, gesture, projection and making things seem real instead of read out – but none of them have impact if you forget what you’re meant to say. Next time you’re preparing to mount the stage, try these angles for getting those lines lodged in your mindtanks.

Read them out. Do it again

There’s no point waiting until you’re up there in front of the crowd. Right from the start, read your lines out loud as you go through them. Do it with your face in the script, do it in front of the mirror, do it in front of your cat

Find someone to read with

Grab a friend or family member to practise with. They can play the other parts, jog your memory when you forget and help you nail the tricky bits.

Don’t stand still when you’re memorising

Get moving! Go for a walk and mutter your lines to yourself, or even move around your bedroom. Recite your lines while you’re doing chores or walking to the bus. It’ll help them stick in your mind.

Picture the scene

You’re not just memorising words, you’re learning a story. Imagine it like a movie, to get the proper context for what you’re saying. This will help with blocking, too.

Learn other people’s lines, too

You don’t want to be one of those actors who’s only waiting for their turn before spitting the line. Pay attention to the flow of conversation that’s happening in each scene. Plus, you’ll need to know the cues from other players that jog your memory.

Record yourself and play it back

Read all your lines into a recording app on your phone, then listen to it over and over. Re-record any parts that didn’t sound right the first time, and make your performance better as you learn those lines.

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