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Memorizing Shakespeare

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TheatreDiva612
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Memorizing Shakespeare#1
Posted: 12/15/07 at 4:48pm
Do any of you have any tips for memorizing a Shakespeare monologue? I'm usually really good at memorizing things but for some reason, it's not sticking... Do you find that memorizing Shakespeare is a lot more difficult? Any tips would be helpful!

(The monologue is from Henry IV, Act. 2 Scene 3- Lady Percy- "O my good lord")
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Perfectly Marvelous
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#2
Posted: 12/15/07 at 7:10pm
I find that if it's a long piece, it's easier to memorize by breaking it into sections. Also, writing it down on paper helps, too. When I was practicing Katharina's monologue from The Taming of the Shrew I found it useful to write on sheets of paper, over and over, until it was fully lodged in my memory.
"I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and dreamer of improbable dreams." - Doctor Who

"Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over, men recognize that the human race has been harshly treated but it has moved forward." - Les Miserables

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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#2
Posted: 12/15/07 at 7:46pm
Shakespeare makes my face hurt......and hello Diva, LTNS!
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#3
Posted: 12/15/07 at 7:55pm
I agree that breaking it into chunks is a good idea. then you just have to drill drill drill.

I would highly advice using the Shakespeare lexicon, which is a dictionary that tells you what the words meant in his day, often with the specificity of the use in that line.

go through every word in the speech--even the words you think you know. it's surprising how the lexicon can help you see a deeper or dazzling new angle on the lines.

and knowing exactly what you are saying could make memorization much easier. you may not be guilty of this, but too many actors pretend to understand the meanings of the lines or just say the words, having no clue what they are saying--just trying to sound 'Shakepearely'. it's so much easier and more fun when one does know what it all means. :)
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#4
Posted: 12/15/07 at 7:56pm
I find that the problem that most actors have about memorizing Shakespeare is that they don't have a clue what it is they are talking about and end up just repeating words. So, understanding what you are saying would be the first big step.
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Updated On: 12/15/07 at 07:56 PM
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Perfectly Marvelous
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#5
Posted: 12/15/07 at 8:12pm
Yes! I forgot to mention that, but definitely agreed. Understanding the material as far as vocabularly goes aides greatly when you're reading through the piece. It helps also once you're performing as you are clearly communicating the character's intent to the audience.
"I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and dreamer of improbable dreams." - Doctor Who

"Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over, men recognize that the human race has been harshly treated but it has moved forward." - Les Miserables

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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#6
Posted: 12/16/07 at 12:21am
I agree with the poster that said breaking it into chunks helps. Also, to help myself understand a monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream(I think it was Helena, who knows anymore), I found it helpful to write it in modern terms to help myself put everything in an order that was easier to remember. It really helped.
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#7
Posted: 12/16/07 at 12:49am
I agree with what everyone else is saying. I always start with the first line, then say the first and second line, then the first second and third, etc so I don't move on until I know the beginning solidly. This takes more time but helps assure that you know it . Sometimes accentuating the iambic pentameter when learning it can help too...kinda like a rap.
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Updated On: 12/18/07 at 12:49 AM
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#8
Posted: 12/16/07 at 5:22am
I like to write it out sentence by sentence, because the way it's written makes it all too tempting to read it line by line like a poem. Other than that, I'll record it and put it on my iPod on repeat.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I remember days
Or at least I try
But as years go by
They're sort of haze
And the bluest ink
Isn't really sky
And at times I think
I would gladly die
For a day of sky

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
And Starbucks will use the words 'large' and 'small', not pretentious crap like grande and tall.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"You could get away with anything if you call it art and tell people who don't like it that it's cutting edge culture." --vmlinnie
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#9
Posted: 12/16/07 at 7:01am
does anyone else here think that it is easier to memorize shakespeare monologues than modern speech? Or is it just me...
Fear no more the heat o' the sun, Nor the furious winter's rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done, Home art gone and ta'en thy wages: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. ~Cymbeline
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re: Memorizing Shakespeare#10
Posted: 12/16/07 at 1:29pm
Like people said before me make sure you know the meaning of every single word.