Saturday, September 23, 2017

Romeo and Juliet: the Memorizing Begins...

Milo O'Shea as Friar Laurence
To prepare to play Friar Laurence in the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet at Leonia High School, I first laid the groundwork with some passive learning. I wrote out all of my lines by hand (since I memorize best from my own handwriting). I recited them, recording it with Audacity and burned it to a CD to listen on my commute. All told, my lines come to a total of about 11 minutes. There are several very lengthy speeches in there, as well as shorter patches in dialogue with others.

For the last week and a half I have been listening to this non-stop whenever I am in the car. My commute each direction is 50 minutes (depending on traffic), so I have listened to my lines something like eight times a day. I have also read my lines out loud from my handwritten script once or twice daily.

I have committed to memory substantial amounts of the Bible in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. And so I know what I have to do to actually memorize for recitation. I recite again and again the first few words or sentence. I look away from the script and confirm whether I have them now from memory. After I feel I have this selection now comfortably ready for recitation, I add another bit of words--ideally an entire extra line. And I then recite from the beginning, adding the new bit in. Rinse. Repeat. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.

I spent today about four hours on this project. I have eleven pages of handwritten script for my lines. While they are by no means solid, at one time or another I successfully recited six of these eleven pages from memory today.

As the only adult actor in the production, I certainly feel an enormous burden to be a leader and have my lines fully memorized before the students. Tomorrow morning, of course, is Church. Then, tomorrow afternoon, I will work over and confirm what I accomplished today. And then my goal is to memorize at least one more page.

As Friar Laurence would say in Latin, "Orate pro me!"


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