How do actors memorise their lines? – Times Online

This interview from the Times Online elaborates on the importance of context in memory, and how this is especially important for actors. In MemorizeShakespeare, our sister site, Context is #3 on the list of Top 8 Tips For Memorizing Shakespeare.

Are their brains bigger than ours? In a public discussion held at New York’s Columbia University this month, the RSC’s Michael Boyd and Dr Oliver Sacks compared notes

Michael Boyd: We worked with about 30 actors over nearly three years on the RSC’s last complete cycle of the history plays. All the actors were in at least seven of those plays and learnt a huge number of roles. Halfway through the project, we left the first four plays behind for nearly a year. And we had to revive them. The actors began to get anxious about whether they would remember them: not only their principal roles, but the roles they understudied – thousands of lines, hundreds of states of emotions. An extraordinary feat of spatial memory was required, too: they had to remember where to go. Where am I? Backstage or front of house?

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