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Hi! I'm a training actress and I perform multiple different shows every year. The learning process changes from show to show, for example the process for learning a play is quite different from learning a musical. Today I will be covering my process for learning musical scripts but I will cover my process for plays in another post! In my theatre company, we do not use the word “memorize” because it implies that we only know the words on the paper with no real meaning behind it. Instead we are told to “learn” each line so every movement and phrase has a meaning. Currently I am performing in Little Shop Of Horrors the musical.
My Highlighting Key!
For musicals I like to have 4 different coloured highlighters, so my lyrics, lines, cues, and stage direction cues all have different colours. This helps each important line stand out and over all breaks down each scene into chunks, so it is overall easier to read and learn.
My Score Flags!
Another helpful tip is to use flags to mark in your script and score which songs you're in. Sometimes finding a particular song can be difficult when you're flipping through and especially you might not be in every single song. This is where the flags come in handy, I like to put a flag on the top of the page of each song I'm in and write the name of the song on it. This way it is super easy to flip to whatever song you need to during the rehearsal process.
More flag things yay! For each scene I'm in I have 3 different coloured flags, so songs, dances, and pure acting scenes all have a different colour. For each scene I'm in I put either a music flag, dance flag or acting flag on the side of the page so I can quickly flip to certain scenes to rehearse them without having to flip through the entire script. This also helps me break down the overall script into more manageable chunks, for example 4 dances, 5 songs and 6 acting scenes makeup my part of the show. Making the huge script seem much less daunting especially for beginners. I don't write the names of scenes on these flags but feel free to if it helps you learn better.
When I'm done flagging and highlighting the entire script, I write in my motivation for each scene. Just little one word adjectives and words to get me into the mindset of my character.
Something helpful for students like me is to bring your script to school and study it in your free time or even if you're just bored in class. If I'm bored I won't want to do any school work anyways so I might as well be productive and study my script in class. It's bad I know but it's better than falling asleep. Just make sure to be sneaky about this one though, keep some work on your desk to cover up the script if a teacher comes by etc.). I always keep my script in a binder so it's super portable and blends into my school supplies seamlessly. You can even have your friends read you your cues so you can rehearse and if your friends are nerds like mine then they'll love getting to read your script with you.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my script learning process and I hope you learned something along the way! Break a leg!