[Added January 2006]
How do actors memorize all these lines?Trying to answer this question,
Helga and Tony Noice have found a surprising way to master cognitive
abilities that can be of great help to non-actors and to aged people.
The answer to their question is that actors don’t use rote memorization.
Instead they learn their lines by … acting. An actor would concentrate not
on the words, but on their meaning and divide the script lines in chunks
called “beats” or “intentions”.During each beat the actor has the same
motivations of the character. So the actor will rehearse his lines by going
from a “beat” to the next and trying to use any clue (physical, emotional)
to remember the lines involved.
What is interesting is that this strategy can be used by non-actors :for
example students, to improve learning. An example on how a student can
use this strategy, is by imagining to explain what is learning to other
people. (This is a technique that I use frequently myself: the best way to learn something , is to teach a course about what you are learning!)
Yet more surprising is the fact that engaging aged people in a four-weeks
course on acting, improved word-recall and problem solving abilities.