How one can Memorise a Monologue

The primary query each actor will get requested by well-meaning relations following a efficiency is: “How did you be taught all of these strains?!” It’s not their fault, it’s the principles. The query comes from a typical, kind-hearted-yet-misguided notion that the training 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.) Right now, although, I’m going to put out just a few methods of studying these pesky monologues. And the subsequent time some harmless Aunt or Uncle presses you to your approach, you’ll be able to ahead them this text and inform them to have a learn! Moreover, in case you are attempting to memorise a monologue and combating the method, this text will likely be helpful for you as effectively.

One of the best ways to memorise a monologue is to determine the method that works finest for you, break the monologue down into smaller chunks and be taught 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. Figuring out which of them go well with you finest after which tailoring a line-learning technique to go well with will vastly profit you within the monologue studying course of.

Let’s get into it!

Break it Down into Beats

Subsequent to the right way 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 realize their objective (by way of actions). They’re often denoted by a shift in emotion, a chunk of knowledge discovered or given or an analogous second of dramatic motion throughout 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 assets on this topic, and it’s best to learn them as they communicate on the subject in higher element. 

Primarily, 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 be taught an intimidating wall of textual content. By breaking it up into beats we will be taught 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 exploit a monologue from Julius Ceasar for instance. 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 effectively.

On this monologue, Brutus begins off figuring out he has to kill Caesar, however not having the correct motive to homicide his pal. Over the course of the piece, he convinces himself that it might be for the higher 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 perspective to one thing else by the tip. 

How do you Study?

With regards to studying, there are numerous strategies you’ll be able to undertake that will help you within the training course of. In my expertise as an actor and educator, I subscribe to the VAK concept of training. Visible, auditory and kinaesthetic. 

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

Auditory learners be taught finest by listening to issues. Should you’re a musician, or you’ll be able to quote entire episodes of tv or films verbatim, or recall large passages of podcasts or speeches from reminiscence, likelihood is you might be an auditory learner.

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

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

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

You is perhaps like me, otherwise you is perhaps massively visible! It’s all good! Everyone seems to be completely different, so I’m going to provide you my finest memorisation ways for every kind of VAK studying.

Studying your Monologue

Visible Learners

The perfect method I’ve seen for visible learners to get their strains down is Andy’s technique, 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 finished one sentence and might recollect it with out trying on the web page, transfer onto the subsequent till you will have learnt the entire beat. After getting that beat, begin on the subsequent, and rinse and repeat. Magic!

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

Auditory Learners

The temptation for auditory learners is to report the monologue and hearken to it again and again till you bear in mind it. Whereas this looks as if a logical course of, I’d truly advise towards it. It’s too straightforward a method to ingrain a mode of supply; you’re inclined to repeat the monologue precisely as first recorded, which stops you from taking path. 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 convey to the scene which may modify your supply (do not forget that a monologue continues to be about speaking together with your scene accomplice—even should you’re doing all of the speaking.)

My suggestion is to do an train generally known as “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’d say to myself out loud:

“May 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 direction of, a shiny, heat 24- hour interval in January?” 

This will take a very long time, relying on the script! However it actually does provide help to be taught the strains AND the ideas behind them. Should you drop a phrase, as an alternative of getting caught you’ll subconsciously add in an analogous phrase and hold 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 associates! You’ve got to maneuver it! I discover one of the best ways to be taught as a kinaesthetic learner is to assign every phrase within the sentence a gesture, and dance it out!

Be sure to use your full physique and repeat the identical gestures for a similar phrases. I discover this works rather well at the side of “The Whats” train above. Combining a number of types 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 strains, significantly if 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 will possibly additionally imply that should you drop a phrase, you go completely dry (a concern worse than dying for me!)

The second pitfall is locking in decisions early after which missing flexibility. Whenever you go for an audition, the director might need a very completely different concept of the piece to how you will have practiced it; it’s worthwhile to be versatile and in a position to play with the textual content! When you have discovered it by rote, or from a recording, it is vitally unlikely that you’ll have the power to play with it.

As a substitute, when you find yourself studying your strains, attempt to be taught them neutrally: not placing an excessive amount of emphasis on explicit phrases or including an excessive amount of emotion. Get fully off guide first, then search for that emotional arc. Add in these pictures, spend money on the given circumstances and so forth! Should you do that if you are attempting to be taught it, and commit absolutely each time in the identical method, 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 will have it: the right way to memorise a monologue! After getting picked one out, (its personal problem, see right here for suggestions), break it down into manageable beats, decide a studying fashion that resonates with you and begin on the very starting. It’s an excellent place to start out. By making it manageable for your self, holding emotion out of it and actually utilising the way in which you be taught finest, you will discover that you may get your subsequent monologue down in report time!