Public Speaking: Quick Tips to Fix Forgetfulness - Part 4
You will find that if you conscientiously apply these strategies they most certainly can help. Here are a few important points to remember when memorizing your work:
Don't overlook the importance of starting to learn your lines as soon as possible. In all the hype of getting ready for a performance it is an easy thing to overlook. The best time to start learning your lines is right when you get the script. Don't wait until later on in the production when much of your time will be spent in blocking, interpretation, motivation, costume, make-up, publicity, photo shoots, and all the rest of the whirlwind of a theatrical presentation. Do it now before the craziness starts. You won't regret it!
Whatever you do, don't leave it until the last minute! Believe me, the "I will remember them better if I am under pressure" line does not work! If you try to learn a lot while you are under pressure your mind will be thinking about different things and you will not absorb the work as well. There have been many actors who believed that they should learn their lines literally before stepping on stage to "keep the performance fresh." The only things they're keeping fresh right now is the produce at the farmer's market.
Don't get discouraged. If you have difficulty learning your work, don't give up. It will get easier and easier every time. You are actually exercising your brain and memory when you are learning this work, and just as if you exercise any other part of your body, your brain will become more efficient at handling large bits of memorized material, and it will also become faster at recalling the information.
Writing things down may just be one of the most important aids to helping you remember. You don't have to write things down in order to remember them but then you have to be ready to face the consequences!
I knew a concert pianist who after almost twenty years of tickling the ivories finally got her big break through: an amazing opportunity to play a solo piano recital at one of Europe's most important concert halls. She booked her train to arrive the night before the show so that she would not be flustered or tired. She checked into a luxury hotel and got a great night's sleep. The next morning over breakfast she was reading the city's newspaper and in the entertainment section was a big article about how at last night's highly touted and sold out piano recital, the pianist didn't show up.
She hadn't written the date of the show down and had arrived 24 hours after when she should have been there!
Remember when I stated that forgetfulness can really ruin a performance, your career, and even your entire life? Well, she never played piano again, not even in the privacy of her own home. There went a good two decades of practicing piano every waking moment to work your way up to become a world class concert pianist... anyone have the number for the unemployment office?
So don't groan or give up when you remember the huge amount of work you have to learn. Just think of it as an opportunity to exercise your brain, and make it your goal to learn all your lines to perfection... or at least close to it!