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How one can Memorise a Monologue

The primary query each actor will get requested by well-meaning members of the family following a efficiency is: “How did you study all of these traces?!” It’s not their fault, it’s the principles. The query comes from a standard, kind-hearted-yet-misguided notion that the educational of the phrases is the toughest half (the place, in precise truth, it’s the anxiousness of efficiency and the concern of vulnerability that basically cooks your noodle.) At the moment, although, I’m going to put out a number of methods of studying these pesky monologues. And the subsequent time some harmless Aunt or Uncle presses you to your method, you’ll be able to ahead them this text and inform them to have a learn! Moreover, if you’re making an attempt to memorise a monologue and combating the method, this text might be helpful for you as properly.

One of the simplest ways to memorise a monologue is to determine the method that works greatest for you, break the monologue down into smaller chunks and study it methodically, half by half, till you’ll be able to re-assemble and repeat it verbatim. There are three main modes of studying: auditory, visible and kinaesthetic. Understanding which of them go well with you greatest after which tailoring a line-learning methodology to go well with will massively profit you within the monologue studying course of.

Let’s get into it!

Break it Down into Beats

Subsequent to find out how to movie a self tape, our most mentioned matter on StageMilk might be what are beats? Beats are the fundamental chunks of a monologue/scene/story, that denote a shift within the scene both in what the character’s goal is, or how they determine to attain their aim (by way of actions). They’re normally denoted by a shift in emotion, a chunk of data realized or given or the same second of dramatic motion inside the story.

Beats are an important a part of script evaluation and the muse of breaking down a script into smaller, workable chunks. The articles linked above are tremendous helpful sources on this topic, and it’s best to learn them as they converse on the subject in larger element. 

Basically, the primary a part of studying your monologue is to spit it up into its key concepts—its beats. By breaking it down into its beats, we make the monologue extra manageable, and simpler to navigate. Loads of actors discover themselves overwhelmed by the entire monologue, and the considered having to study an intimidating wall of textual content. By breaking it up into beats we will study it concept by concept, thought by thought and make it extra manageable for ourselves on the similar time.

In that beats article linked above, I take advantage of a monologue from Julius Ceasar for example. have a look beneath:

memorise a monologue with beats

As you’ll be able to see, I’ve named every beat—given it a theme, so to talk, in addition to numbered it. This helps me have an concept of what the tone of the thought is behind the beat, and helps make clear the construction of the piece as properly.

On this monologue, Brutus begins off figuring out he has to kill Caesar, however not having the right motive to homicide his good friend. Over the course of the piece, he convinces himself that it will be for the larger good to cease Caesar earlier than he turns into a hazard. By breaking it up into smaller, extra manageable chunks, I can perceive the character’s thought course of simpler and see how he modifies from one standpoint to one thing else by the top. 

How do you Study?

In the case of studying, there are numerous strategies you’ll be able to undertake that can assist you within the schooling course of. In my expertise as an actor and educator, I subscribe to the VAK concept of schooling. Visible, auditory and kinaesthetic. 

Visible learners study by seeing. Artists, designers, individuals with detailed reminiscence or recall for complicated visible conditions get pleasure from utilizing graphs, maps and diagrams, love color coded flashcards or thoughts maps and so forth.

Auditory learners study greatest by listening to issues. Should you’re a musician, or you’ll be able to quote entire episodes of tv or motion pictures verbatim, or recall large passages of podcasts or speeches from reminiscence, chances are high you might be an auditory learner.

Lastly, kinaesthetic learners study by doing. Generally dancers, bodily theatre practitioners and sports activities individuals study greatest by doing with their our bodies. They will discover themselves stressed and fidgety in conventional tutorial contexts, and doubtlessly battle with extra summary conceptual matters. 

Typically, persons are have a main class they align with greatest and a secondary class that’s kinda useful. For me, my main is auditory: I can keep in mind entire swathes of films, TV exhibits and songs. I can quote stuff that I’ve heard solely a couple of times fairly properly from reminiscence, and this offers me an enormous benefit with line studying. It additionally implies that I have to construct my line studying course of round listening to the phrases and their which means.

My secondary class is kinaesthetic. I play a number of sports activities, and realized guitar primarily from finger positions moderately than musical notation. I’ve discovered, purely by trial and error, that if I would like I can use motion to assist the traces get into my physique. I’ve additionally discovered that I battle with assessing and understanding visible parts, like studying a script and picturing what it seems like on the display screen.

You is perhaps like me, otherwise you is perhaps massively visible! It’s all good! Everyone seems to be totally different, so I’m going to offer you my greatest memorisation techniques for every sort of VAK studying.

Studying your Monologue

Visible Learners

The easiest means I’ve seen for visible learners to get their traces down is Andy’s methodology, seen right here, in How one can Study Traces FAST:

Seize a pad and a pen and write out the monologue, beat by beat, noting down the primary letter of every phrase in a sentence with the precise punctuation. Then, utilizing that as a reference, repeat the sentence again utilizing simply the letters on the web page. When you’ve carried out one sentence and may recollect it with out wanting on the web page, transfer onto the subsequent till you could have learnt the entire beat. Upon getting that beat, begin on the subsequent, and rinse and repeat. Magic!

Should you battle with a specific phrase or concept, you’ll be able to draw little symbols or doodles to essentially push that exact clean residence. Something to make it visible and enjoyable for your self! Simply do not forget that the letters and punctuation must be precise.

Auditory Learners

The temptation for auditory learners is to document the monologue and hearken to it again and again till you keep in mind it. Whereas this looks as if a logical course of, I might truly advise towards it. It’s too simple a method to ingrain a mode of supply; you’re inclined to repeat the monologue precisely as first recorded, which stops you from taking route. It’s particularly constricting in a scene when one other actor is current, as you’ll be able to’t ensure of what they’ll carry to the scene that may modify your supply (do not forget that a monologue continues to be about speaking together with your scene companion—even for those who’re doing all of the speaking.)

My advice is to do an train often called “The Whats.”

Undergo your monologue, sentence by sentence, and outline what each phrase means—both what the phrase actually means or what it means to my character. 

For instance:

Shall I evaluate thee to a summers day? 

If I used to be studying that, I would say to myself out loud:

“Might I: me, Romeo, evaluate: make a comparability between, thee: you, Juliet, love of my life (insert picture of precise one who is that for you in actuality), in the direction of, a vibrant, heat 24- hour interval in January?” 

This will take a very long time, relying on the script! However it actually does show you how to study the traces AND the ideas behind them. Should you drop a phrase, as an alternative of getting caught you’ll subconsciously add in the same phrase and maintain the second going.

By saying the phrases out loud, it means you hear them and take into consideration their which means, context and subtext. It retains your work contemporary and doesn’t lock you right into a single mode of efficiency.

Kinaesthetic Learners

My kinaesthetic pals! You’ve got to maneuver it! I discover one of the best ways to study as a kinaesthetic learner is to assign every phrase within the sentence a gesture, and dance it out!

Ensure you use your full physique and repeat the identical gestures for a similar phrases. I discover this works very well along with “The Whats” train above. Combining a number of kinds can actually assist get the phrases into your physique, so give it a go subsequent time you might be memorising!

The Pitfalls

There are two large pitfalls relating to studying traces, significantly whenever you’re studying monologues.

The primary is studying by rote. The issue with repeating sentences again and again is that they begin to turn out to be meaningless—simply noises you’re making in a specific order. It could additionally imply that for those who drop a phrase, you go completely dry (a concern worse than demise for me!)

The second pitfall is locking in decisions early after which missing flexibility. Once you go for an audition, the director might need a very totally different concept of the piece to how you could have practiced it; it is advisable be versatile and capable of play with the textual content! You probably have realized it by rote, or from a recording, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll have the power to play with it.

As an alternative, if you end up studying your traces, attempt to study them neutrally: not placing an excessive amount of emphasis on explicit phrases or including an excessive amount of emotion. Get fully off ebook first, then search for that emotional arc. Add in these photographs, spend money on the given circumstances and so forth! Should you do that if you are making an attempt to study it, and commit totally each time in the identical means, the piece will turn out to be predictable and really feel wood and rehearsed. Study it first, then add in your emotional and imaginative aptitude!


There you could have it: find out how to memorise a monologue! Upon getting picked one out, (its personal problem, see right here for suggestions), break it down into manageable beats, choose a studying type that resonates with you and begin on the very starting. It’s an excellent place to begin. By making it manageable for your self, preserving emotion out of it and actually utilising the way in which you study greatest, you’ll discover that you would be able to get your subsequent monologue down in document time! 




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