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Updated Monday, October 7, 2013
The scene onstage is running smoothly until... SILENCE! The students stand frozen, waiting for one young actor to speak, but he doesn’t seem to notice that he’s missed his line.
It’s the final week of rehearsals for the school play you’re directing. You’re frazzled as you sit in the booth and organize lighting cues with the technical director, jot notes about last minute alterations you’d like your costumer to make, and frantically text message the set designer that the walls are a little too orange. At least the cast is well rehearsed. The scene onstage is running smoothly until... SILENCE! The students stand frozen, waiting for one young actor to speak, but he doesn’t seem to notice that he’s missed his line.
We’ve all been in this type of situation when working with student actors. Memorizing dozens (if not hundreds) of lines and the order in which to say them can be challenging for any actor, but it seems like an especially daunting task for the young and novice. I find myself repeating the same phrase year after year to my high school students: “I can’t learn your lines for you.”
And it’s true. As directors, we can’t learn the lines for our casts. Are we resigned to simply sit back and watch our actors struggle through the line learning process, though? Absolutely not. We may not be able to learn the lines for these young thespians, but there are a few strategies we can employ to help make the transition off book as painless as possible for everyone involved.
We have put together this helpful worksheet with great ideas for teaching your students how to memorize their lines.
Keywords: drama student drama teacher memorizing teaching students theatre student theatre teacher
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