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Acting Class Los Angeles: Andrew Wood Acting Studio

Malcolm Jamal-Warner on memorizing lines

“My approach is to look at the character’s world. Often, we get so locked into memorizing lines and practicing how we’re going to say those lines, when in reality the lines are just a symbol or representation of the person. I spend a lot of time getting into the character’s life. Every character has a point of view, so what informs this character’s point of view?”–Malcolm-Jamal Warner, “The Resident”</blockquote cite=”https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/10-actors-and-casting-directors-on-memorizing-lines-for-audition-67151/”>

Warner makes an important point here: as actors, it’s natural to feel some urgency about figuring out how to say the lines. But in truth, how to say the lines is the outcome of the process of preparation: of examining the character’s history, present situation and potential futures, and their needs, and of personalization. As Maggie Smith once said, “It’s not how you say it, but why. That’s been useful.” They why comes from a deep, empathetic examination of the character in order to arrive an underlying objective. When you have that why, a range of hows become possible to explore in rehearsal.