How Actors Memorize Their Lines


As I’ve been reading Behan plays, I started to think about the challenge that actors must have learning dialog, especially if they are playing a large part in something.  The way that my mind works I have trouble remember song lyrics, especially to cover songs, so I can’t imagine the work that must go into learning the dialog for an entire play.  I also was thinking of the TV show Deadwood, where they often would get pages of dialog the day of a shoot, due to creator David Milch writing dialog often up until the very last minute.  (Deadwood is one of my favorite shows ever.  The dialog is really complex.  At times it is like Shakespeare with swearing.  Actor Ian McShane, in particular, would have to give whole speeches, soliloquies sometimes, that he had only gotten the morning of the shoot.)  So I decided to google what actors do, in hopes of learning tricks to make learning song lyrics easier for myself.  Out of the articles I read, I found the one that follows the most interesting, not only because it interviewed stage actors in Chicago, but also by total coincidence it talked about Deadwood and how those actors dealt with Milch’s writing style.  Here is the article:

How Actors Memorize Their Lines

Johnny Depp: Actors that Start Bands Make Him “Sick”

Johny Depp: Actors that Start Bands Make Him “Sick”

The above link is to an article where Johnny Depp discusses his distaste for actors who use their fame to start bands.  Depp plays music with others on the side, but would never form his own project because most people would only want to see it due to fame.

I was trying to think of people that were famous in one career, that moved over into music later in life, and there isn’t many that I can think of that actually made valid music.  David Lynch has gone from being a director to creating valid music at times, even releasing solo records.  However, Lynch has always been sort of a Renaissance man.  He was involved in the music and sound design of many of his films.  He wrote the lyrics for the Julee Cruise albums that him and Angelo Badalamenti did with her.  I think someone like Lynch is the exception and not the rule though.

One of the things that is really troubling in Austin is that you see a lot of the young rich starting bands and taking up club slots on the weekends.  The tech industry is really big in Austin.  You will have these guys that are rich by the time they are in their 30’s start up these massively funded bands, taking slots away from working musicians.  If they were any good one could possibly ignore it.  Although I’m sure one of those kinds of bands is actually decent, most of them are terrible.  Sure, they are usually professional, as they can afford to buy good equipment, pay for promotion, take professional photographs, buy good looking stage outfits, etc.  However, the music itself is usually the worst kind of cliched nonsense.  It may seem like I am jealous, and I do feel it is an insult to people that have spent years honing their craft, but really I just wish my ears wouldn’t be polluted by so much nonsense.  The 1% will not only own 50% of the wealth by 2016, but are also pumping out more than their fair share of sonic gibberish.  There are some that will refuse to believe me, and will think that this is some kind of personal vindictiveness, but I would so rather hear rich guys making amazing music than poor people making total shite.  However, this is rarely the case.  Most of these “weekend warrior” bands are making, to quote Keith Richards when talking of Mick Jagger’s solo album, “dogshit in the doorway”.

All the World’s a Stage

The Shinyribs band played Floore’s Country Store last night.  Today we have a wedding.  One could say I have been slightly busy, although it probably has more to do with poor time managment.  Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to resume my normal posting schedule. 

In the meantime I have been paying attention to the drama surrounding Obamacare.  The older I get the more I view politics as theater, albeit one with more immediate real world consequences.  As an art form it is the certainly the ugliest.  These actors give their scripted dialogue and mug for the camera, often with seemingly little idea of how their words will land upon reality.  It is unfortunately also an art form in which we can often predict the roles each character will inhabit.  The only thing up for grabs is the final outcome. 

I am certainly hoping that the outcome this time around is a lasting law that gives more people a chance to get the help that they most desperately need.  Those opposing Obama would be in a farce if it was fiction, but alas, in reality they are inhabiting a stupid, degrading, and poorly written tragedy.  Who can score the most points and get the most digs in?  Who can get the most applause from their base?  I often wonder if those that oppose healthcare reform realize that real lives hang in the balance.  Do they realize that or are the people that died not getting the care they needed, or went broke getting it, just not the part of the crowd who’s approval they want to win over?  All the world’s a stage, often to our own detriment.