Monologue Memorization

By Elizabeth Sirianni

If you happened to have read my latest article, you already know that Ms. Lucas’s Intro to Theater class has been learning how to perform and memorize a monologue. Each student was given a packet with multiple monologue excerpts from different plays, and they each chose the one they wanted to perform the most.

As soon as we chose our monologue, we were instructed to read over it several times to get a better idea of the character’s intentions, personality, and what kind of story they were trying to tell. After giving us some time to read over our monologues, we then had to pick a partner so that we could both read our monologues out loud to one another and then give each other feedback on how we could improve. Luckily we were able to look at our scripts when we were doing partner work, because I was not anywhere near having mine memorized considering I had only spent about ten minutes reading it.

The class after we did partner work is when we learned about different kinds of memorization tips. One of them was that we could record ourselves reading the monologue so that we could listen to it later while repeating each word out loud. I considered trying this but there’s no way I could listen to the sound of my own voice for that long, so I went with the second tip: writing down every word in your monologue by hand. At first I had to look at the script every single time I had to write down the next word, but after writing it out a few dozen times I didn’t have to look at the script at all. Another one of the tips was to connect the word from the monologue with our body movements. For example, you could take a walk while reading your monologue out loud, and every time you finished reading a paragraph you would stop walking, take a break, and then start walking again when you started a new paragraph.

In conclusion, trying to memorize a long chunk of dialogue may seem scary at first, but practice can make anything possible.