TRAP 11: FEAR OF FORGETTING
YOU: “Ok, I’ll try to memorize my script, I’m so afraid I’ll forget my lines on stage.”
ME: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
“Once you’ve given it your all to memorize your script backwards and forwards, you can trust that you’ve done your best. That’s what professional performers do. We prepare professionally. And once we’ve done that, we can ‘let go of the outcome,’ and be in the moment on stage.”
Here are some things to remember if you forget a line:
- The audience doesn’t care! Only you even know you’ve forgotten. You may even forget for a half second and then immediately remember what’s next. They just think you’re taking a pause! They can’t hear what’s going on inside your head.
- Take a deep breath and take the opportunity to enjoy the moment. You’re on stage, sharing a beautiful experience with fellow humans! It doesn’t get any better than this.
- Think about what you just talked about and what you’d logically or chronologically talk about after that. Sometimes that can jog your memory.
- Transitions are your most important moments on stage. Do your best in rehearsal to focus on those points most.
- Remember your blocking / movements. When you rehearse on your feet, and you always make the same move from one line to the next, let your body’s muscle memory remind you of what’s next.
- If you’re taking a while to remember your line, you can take a moment to check in with the audience, subtly or with words. “How’s this going for you?” Put the attention on them instead of yourself.
- If you still can’t remember, let the audience know playfully, “Wow, I have no idea where I am!” You can take it lightly. It’s no big deal. They’ll enjoy your honesty and your humor.
- Move to the next part of the piece you remember. The more you accept things as they are and enjoy yourself, the more the audience will do the same. You can be an example of self-acceptance and inner ease that teaches others to do the same.