Go Backwards! To learn your performance -or to learn a difficult word- start at the end and work toward the beginning.  For example, to learn the word gesticulate, repeat:   “late….ulate…culate…iculate…ticulate…gesticulate. To learn a transition from one paragraph to another, also work backwards:  “but it wasn’t always that way”…then… “he’s so proud of me now as an artist, but it wasn’t always that way”…then…”and we travelled around some of our favorite places in Italy. He is so proud of me now as an artist, but it wasn’t always that way”… etc.  By working backwards, you’re always working TOWARDS something that you know BETTER.

Record your words: read your script into a recording device, and then listen to the playback in the car, on a walk, etc. You can even work backwards through the recording, as described above.

Draw pictures: For visual learners, another great technique is to illustrate your script or highlight it in different colors.  For example, when your script says, “I looked her in the eye and said, …” you could sketch a picture of an eye in the margin, or when you talk about the monarchy, sketch a crown in the margin.

Add gestures and movement:  Putting lots of gestures and movement into your performance makes it more interesting and engaging for your audience.  However, studies also show that body movements can actually help you remember things better!  So whether you’re just raising your eyebrows in surprise or using your whole body to climb into the cockpit of a plane, use as many good gestures and movements as you can to tell your story.

Run lines with a friend: Recruit a friend or family member to read your script as you recite your lines.  Ask them NOT to prompt you if you pause, so that you have plenty of time to try to remember what comes next.  If you’re stumped, call out “line!” and have your reader give you the next few words of your monologue.

And of course practice, practice, practice!

What to do when you forget: Stay calm and try to remember what happens next in the story, even if you can’t remember the exact words.  As you’re rehearsing, sometimes you should practice pushing through your story without someone prompting you, just to get some practice at telling what happened even if you can’t remember the precise words you’ve written.

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    S. as Julius Caesar

    S. as Julius Caesar