How Do Actors Memorize Their Lines? Here is a study that supports Juanita Drama's method of MEMORIZING WITH MEANING, IN CHARACTER AND WITH PHYSICALIZATION.
Many researchers in the field of psychology are quite fascinated by this question. Cognitive psychologist Helga Noice and cognitive researcher, actor, and director Tony Noice from Elmhurst College are among those who have done studies to dig deeper into actors’ cognitive abilities.
BEYOND THE LITERAL WORDS
Helga and Tony Noice suggest that actors think beyond the words on a script instead, they try to understand the subtext, the hidden meaning behind the words. Actors are able to memorize their lines so well because they spend more time connecting with their character rather than rotely memorizing their lines.
According to the researchers, actors engage in a process called “active experiencing” when they are working on embodying a particular character. Through active experiencing, actors are able to essentially live through the character; they get in touch with the mental, physical and emotional meaning behind the lines. The process of active experiencing allows actors to figure out their characters’ intentions – why they say what they say and how that translates into action, for instance.
Moreover, through their studies, Helga and Tony Noice found that physical movement also helps actors memorize better. They found in one study that lines memorized while walking across the stage were better recalled than lines that were not paired with some kind of action. In a way, the physical movement seems to significantly support the memory consolidation process for actors.