While rehearsing my play SCATTERED ASHES in Florida in November 2015, one of the two actors was having difficulty memorizing his lines and actions especially when the other actor would miss a line or change a line. The first actor could not remember where he was—on the page and on the stage.
A problem actors (particularly new actors) have is trying to memorize their lines and actions before they know how the play is developing. KNOW THE STORY AND THE LINES WILL COME. If an actor first reads the play and understands where the dialogue and action are going, it is much easier to learn the lines. In this way the lines and actions are absorbed organically and character can be developed in the rehearsal process. And if the actor does not understand where the play is going and how a line or action fits, ask the director and/or the playwright. There maybe be some logic behind the line or action that the actor does not understand, or maybe the line needs to be changed or deleted!
Another example of this principal also occurred during the rehearsals of SCATTERED ASHES in Bonita Springs. It became obvious to both actors and all others at the rehearsal that a line was best said by a different actor than originally written for. Why? KNOWING THE STORY. The other actor had prior lines that build up to this particular line: “Almost forgot a big one!” This line referred to leaving John Wycliffe’s skull on top of his grave that was dug up.
Want to know more? SCATTERED ASHES is available on my website. KNOWING THE STORY worked during the rehearsals of SCATTERED ASHES, and the production benefited from it!