How to Quickly Memorize a Monologue

October 25, 2012  |  Posted by: KD Conservatory

Memorizing a monologue for a performance or audition can sometimes be a daunting task. When you have to do it quickly, it can be even more difficult. Whether your busy schedule lead to putting it off or you’ve been given a new piece at the last minute, there will come a time when you need to memorize a monologue – and memorize it quickly. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Don’t Panic

The pressure of having to memorize a monologue in a short period of time can be stressful – especially if it feels like there’s a lot riding on it. But this is the time for you to keep a cool head and not panic. Panicking will only work against you and make it harder to focus on the task at hand; instead of thinking about the monologue, your mind will be on how much (or how little) time you have left. Before starting, take a long, deep breath and then slowly let it out, letting your mind clear and your body relax. Do this again whenever you feel yourself getting anxious. It may sound cliché, but it helps!

Understand the Content

Don’t think of the monologue as just words on a page – think of it as the story being told. When you have context for what’s being said, it’s easier for your brain to fill in the right gaps with the right words when memorizing. For example, look at these two sentences:

  • Cold the behind house the night barked in dog the
  • The dog behind the house barked in the cold night

They’re the same words, but which is easier to remember? Most likely, it’s the sentence that arranges the words so that they mean something to you. This may be an oversimplified example, but the same principle applies. When you understand the meaning within the monologue and behind the words, each sentence and phrase will fall into place more easily.

Use Your Whole Brain

Learning a monologue by reading is the go-to method. This is great for visual learners; but unfortunately, not everyone is a visual learner. Many people learn far better by hearing, moving, or using their senses in any combination of ways. If you know what works best for you, take advantage of that knowledge to study the monologue in a way that fits your learning style. Try listening to a recorded version so that you can hear it, saying it aloud so you can experience it, or engaging muscle memory by writing the words down yourself. Some people even find that physically acting out each word or phrase with their body helps them learn the material. Give any of these methods a try – or better yet, try all of them. The more ways your brain can receive the same message, the better.

Focus on One Section at a Time

Though there are some who disagree, many people find that focusing on one section of the monologue at a time helps them memorize it more quickly. Start by breaking the monologue down into chunks, either using natural breaking points like paragraphs or simply dividing it into even sections.  Focus all of your attention on the first chunk until you have it committed to memory. Then move on to the next one, adding it to the first one after you have both memorized. Repeat this process for the entire monologue until you can repeat the entire piece from memory.

Still Have More Questions?

KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!

Do you have any great tricks for quickly memorizing a monologue that you’d like to add? Tell us about them in the comments!

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