If you’ve ever felt anxious looking over your character’s lines, wondering how on earth you’ll ever be able to cram all those words into your brain and retrieve them when the pressure of an expecting audience looms, here are some helpful tips.

As an actor who is being required to memorize lines, realize you have the advantage of playing a role. So, instead of going over lines as you sit in a rehearsal room, try saying your lines as you roughly stage the scenes—without sets or costumes. Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, believes once dialogue is entered into an actor’s brain, the words are like “broken bits of memory” requiring a combination of memory, emotions, and movement to be reached. Thus, give yourself physical cues, and learn your required motion (i.e., walking into the living room with a snicker on your face) to assist your brain in recalling the information.

Also, remember that you are ultimately communicating with an audience. Boyd suggests to say your lines aloud to somebody as much as possible–even when you’re just starting out.

And then, make the lines your own, allowing yourself to become that character in that particular situation, using those specific words. This internalization of the role will help transport you into the proverbial zone.

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