Q: Do you have any great methods for memorizing dialogue aside from mnemonic devices and repetitive writing?
Two words: Rehearsal Pro.
Okay technically this is an app and not a method, so perhaps a few more words to explain why it is worth the $19.99 price tag in the App Store. Pretty much every method or trick to memorization is literally at your fingertips! Dubbing itself “The App For Actors,” it easy to see why this all-in-one application is popular in the TheaterMaking community.
For those of you who immediately turn away due to the price, one of the coolest features- the ability to record your fellow actor’s cue lines for playback can easily be mimicked in any voice notes app, which is the go-to method for memorization for many actors even today.
Pro tip: If you do record your scene partner’s dialogue with your notes app, always whisper your lines to ensure adequate space between lines. Mouthing words can typically move at a faster pace, resulting in a recording of an over-eager scene partner who keeps stepping on your lines!
Back to the benefits of investing in “The App For Actors.”
In the Script to Playback feature, Rehearsal Pro gives you a teleprompter to assist in the memorization process. For visual learners, adding this element is key to retaining information. You can also play your scene on a loop for those long drives where you need to be hands-free.
We also love the highlighting feature on the app when working with a digital copy of the script, which many environmentally conscious theaters are moving to. Again, you don’t have to have Rehearsal Pro for simple highlighting capabilities on a PDF of your script, but this app has all the bells and whistles you could wish for.
Some actors still believe the best way to memorization is sitting down and highlighting a hard copy of the script. Not only does this allow you to read the entire script for possibly the first time, but the combination of physical motion and visual stimulus only aids in the memorization process.
Surprisingly, taking a walk or a nap has been proven to be effective when it comes to memorizing. After spending time looking at your text, going for a walk, or taking a nap helps move the information you just processed from short-term memory to long-term recall. Who knew? Exercising is linked to burning calories and memorization!
Lastly, if all else fails- sing! If anything pop music has taught us, it is easier to memorize a song than a monologue. Put on your composer hat and memorize your script by making it musical. Now, there is always the off chance that you will forget to go back to spoken words in rehearsal, but there have been very few documented cases so don’t be deterred and sing out, Louise!
P.S. And for even more tips like these, check out The TheaterMakers Studio.