Having a full script from day one is a bit of a novelty, after doing plays that were written around the cast as the rehearsals moved on. This way I know from the beginning that I have too many lines, and I’ll never learn them all, but I want to learn them all, and I don’t want any of them to be cut, because who wants that? Every actor wants more lines.
You will never hear a sane actor say, “[Director’s name], I think this three-page speech rambles a bit, and it doesn’t add to the character’s development or the story arc and I don’t think people want to sit and look at me and listen to me. I think we should trim it a bit.”
But there is a hell of a lot of green highlighter in my script, and it’s a bit daunting. Still I have my battery of high-powered script-learning techniques to help me out.
- Scribbling the lines on a filched notepad with a filched biro, then checking to if I have them correct. Repeat.
- Reading the script again and again. Not as effective.
- Record a rehearsal on-book* with my creaking steam-powered Minidisc recorder. I will then transfer these recordings to MP3 and put them on my shiny modern iPod, which doesn’t record, and has no MIC in socket. Then I can listen to the scene again and again on the train and in bed. (*with script in hand, as opposed to ‘off-book’ which is the goal)
- Face to Face rehearsals with a co-actor are the best. They get you through a speech and force you to do it again and again.
One of these must work, surely…