How to Memorize a Monologue

Seven Parts:Choosing a suitable monologueA holistic viewBreaking it downRepetitionMaking it enjoyableTesting your readinessPerforming the monologue

Memorizing a monologue is a skill that anyone can learn. The key factors include turning it into a story, breaking it down and remaining calm. It's best if you can give yourself time to learn it but even if you can't do that, repetition will help you succeed in retaining the monologue.

Part 1
Choosing a suitable monologue

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    Find a monologue that suits your level of expertise. You don't want a terribly long monologue if you're just a beginner. Also seek a topic that you enjoy; it will help the memorization process.
    • Match your monologue to your skill level; if you are a beginner actor, start with a fairly short monologue.

Part 2
A holistic view

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    Try to memorize the story of the monologue rather than word by word. Trying to memorize word by word is harder and more difficult, but if you memorize the story you can improvise if you forget some of it, and also it will give it more emotion.
    • If you think of it as telling a story, each thing happens for a reason, cause and effect, it will help you to remember what comes next.

Part 3
Breaking it down

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    Read and try to memorize a little portion of it each day. One long cramming period is generally not effective.
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    Split your speech into multiple sections. Write each section on a note card. Memorize one notecard per day until you've learned the lot.

Part 4

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    Record your voice reading the monologue with you computer or camera. Listen to it as much as possible, speaking along with it.
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    If you need to memorize it faster, it can help to just to say it over and over again in front of the mirror. Concentrate on your face, body language, expression and the clearness of your voice.
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    Stay calm. If you're cramming and don't have much time to memorize or break down, the key rule is to not freak out. Have a sip of water, take a deep breath, and relax. Start with the first phrase read it while looking at the paper then close your eyes and say it. Then read that phrase over again with the next one, and then close your eyes and repeat both phrases. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Part 5
Making it enjoyable

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    Study with a friend. Do whatever you can to try to make memorizing your monologue fun. If you're bored, you risk giving up on it.

Part 6
Testing your readiness

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    Write down what you know on a piece of paper. Read and compare it to the actual monologue.
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    Perform the monologue it in front of one or two people. Have them prompt you with the next word if you get stuck. Mark the spot where you froze, and go over it later.

Part 7
Performing the monologue

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    Before you perform your monologue, read it over once more just to ensure you've got everything.
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    Speak in a measured way and speak clearly. If the people you're performing for never have seen the monologue before they won't understand what's going on. Also don't go too slow, it'll bore the audience.
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    Enjoy knowing you've done a good job!


  • Sleep is helpful. After you're done memorizing for the day, having a break and sleeping helps you to retain every thing you learned. When you sleep, your brain organizes all the new info so that everything you learned from that day will be stored and memorized.
  • Try recording yourself reading the monologue on your phone or computer so you can listen to it if you're in the car or have some free time that you need to use for memorizing.
  • Get a friend to critique you, and watch you for things like: clarity, emotion, volume, etc.
  • Break the monologue into pieces, read the first piece 3 times, then try saying it from memory 3 times. Do the same with the second section, but after being able to read it without the paper, connect it with the first, and repeat from memory 5 times. Do this throughout your memorization process, and once you have the whole thing, repeat it 10 times. If you mess up on a section, start over, until you get 3/5/10 right in a row.
  • Write down what you need to know on a piece of paper and clip it on a object (doors, cabinets or your fridge). Now, to open these objects you need to read your monologue out loud fluently.

Things You'll Need

  • Monologue
  • Positive Attitude
  • Ready for Mistakes and for Success
  • A reliable friend to watch/critique OR a phone to record and see what you can improve

Article Info

Categories: Public Speaking | Theater