Friday, January 10, 2014

Tips on memorization part II

Earlier this year, when we memorized "The Laughing Heart," I wrote a post with some assorted tips on memorization. As both a longtime actress and general geek, I've memorized a LOT of stuff (the former is pretty self-explanatory, but the latter is in reference to pi and Edgar Allan Poe), so over the years I've developed a lot of strategies (some more successful than others). With "The Laughing Heart," Hamlet, and now Henry V, I've also had plenty of opportunities to further refine my techniques this year. I've come up with some new ones recently, so if you're worried about Henry V, read on!

1) When we were memorizing "To Be Or Not To Be," I thought of a brand-new-strategy that I added to the end of my original post. In the spirit of "dimidium facti qui coepit habet," this is a pain-free way to start memorization, but only works if you start well before the due date. Put the poem/speech somewhere that you'll see it repeatedly — for example, set it as your desktop wallpaper or tape it to your mirror — and at a set time each day (for example, when you first turn your computer on or when you brush your teeth, respectively) read it once or twice. The key to memorization is repetition, and this is an easy way to achieve that. In fact, to test it, I tried this method for the first time with "To Be Or Not To Be." Since I didn't have to consciously remember to spend time memorizing the speech, I was delighted to realize that this method needs only a tiny fraction of the motivation I usually need for memorizing — it felt like I'd memorized it with hardly any effort at all! Unless your family is gonna get annoyed at you for sticking stuff to the mirror, I highly recommend this technique :)
2) The second method I literally just thought of about 20 minutes ago (and its success is what prompted this post!). The Righetti Actors' Guild Romeo and Juliet auditions are coming up on January 21st and 22nd (I don't know about you, but I'm STOKED to get the opportunity to actually perform Shakespeare), and the posters around the school said to prepare a Shakespearean monologue for the audition. I thought about just doing the Hamlet speech I already have memorized, but then I thought I might have more success with a monologue from R&J. So I found one of Juliet's monologues from Open Source Shakespeare, copy-pasted it into Word, and planned on typing it out repeatedly like I mentioned in my previous post. But then, I had an idea. Instead of using only one kinetic function (typing), what if I type it AND mouth the words simultaneously? It actually required some concentration and made me type a lot slower than usual in order to coordinate the two, but after using this process only once, I felt like I pretty much had the monologue down. I tried typing it from memory to test myself, and got it perfect on only my SECOND attempt. It was ridiculous how fast it worked. If you're short on time, this is the way to go!

Want more tips? See also part I! Thanks for reading!


  1. You're a life saver Lisa ♥♥♥
    Thank you very much !

  2. Definitely is gonna help me for the "best pre-game speech"! Thank you!!

  3. Yay, these are really helpful, Lisa!! Thank you! My family is only slightly weirded out that I have the speech taped in random places around the house haha!