In my view nothing takes the dramatic out of a drama more than all the actors walking around with scripts in their hands. They don’t project their voices. They don’t make eye contact with each other or the audience. And they often still get lost when they try to look up and ad lib.

People will often site lack of time or “it’s only a small congregation” as reasons why they don’t learn lines. Well those may be good excuses but I reckon if it’s worth taking the time of people to watch it, it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn the lines. So how can we learn lines more quickly and more effectively?

  1. Get the script right – if you can’t read and deliver the lines comfortably then tweak the script so you can. If you feel the character wouldn’t say things quite that way, rewrite it so you are comfortable. Of course, you are only rewriting for delivery – make sure you don’t go changing the meaning!
  2. Record the script and listen to it – even if you have to do all the voices yourself most laptops, phones and MP3 players now have the ability to record and playback easily. Listen to it a few times perhaps while you’re doing something else like driving and you will soon be picking up many of the lines.
  3. Record the other speaking lines and then practise adding yours – I use an application called Evernote. It lets me record all the other lines as individual notes. I then play them back in order and give my lines when each note finishes. Great for practising when no one else can help out.
  4. Work with a friend – ask someone else to give all the other lines. Makes sure they encourage you to get the lines exactly right. If you end up getting a line wrong it can throw everyone else.
  5. Make time for rehearsals – there is no better way to polish your lines and your timing.

So next time go the extra mile – your audience or congregation will thank you!

Got any tips you’d like to share?