These are my tricks for memorising and really knowing your script. Obviously there are going to be your rehearsals with the cast and director but there is a lot of work for you to do too in your own time. Getting around a script can be tricky – especially if you have a large amount of lines. This is a summary of my method for some of the lead roles I have played but I think it can be applied to most scripted characters. Give it a try and find what works for you!
Have you ever felt you are creating a character from literally nothing? Sometimes, especially in a musical theatre chorus, it can feel impossible to find who it is you are portraying – especially if you are left to your own devices to create it or are given a subset of actions that don’t seem to make sense. Here is a little method for creating something from the ground up to help you bring the best you can to every role.
You may have done the best research on the planet, but if you can’t connect to your character, getting into and certainly staying in character becomes extremely, extremely difficult – Especially when your character needs to be alive and true in a room full of people that in essence aren’t there. Your character’s reality needs to be so true that their bubble of existence makes sense in their (your) head regardless of how it has been translated onto a stage. So what do you do if you can’t get inside their head to start with?
There are a few things I like to do to really connect myself to a character. If you are finding it hard to connect to yours feel free to give them a try!
This is what I like to do when I am putting a character together. And just to make it a bit more accessible (and fun) I’ve noticed it lends itself very well to what you would find if you… say… logged into your character’s Facebook account! Now we aren’t building their account from scratch – no it already exists – we just need to pull it out of our script.
So lets work backwards. This huge script is a little like their newsfeed – full of things that don’t seem to make a lot of sense out of context. It can be a daunting task to search through our own feed at the best of times but all the information is there.
Imagine how you could work backwards from your newsfeed to get your timeline, your profile page and ultimately YOU (or in this case… your character).
I was looking over some old photos today and came across this great shot I took of some grapes. I remember at the time – before I realised the two bunches were tangled – how enamoured I was at this single red grape that I thought had appeared amongst my green seedless bunch. I should point out to you all that green seedless grapes are certainly my favourite. Had you asked me what I was heading to the table to get – it would not be the red grapes…. and yet it is this red grape that I certainly was not looking for that inspired me to take this photograph.
So often we walk into an audition room with this great worry about what we think the director is looking for: Do I look the part? Do they want someone taller? Should I portray my character a certain way? Does the director already know what they want? Do I even have a chance at this part?