Sunday, January 18, 2009

Memorize Shakespeare Offers Actors New Way to Learn Lines - PR.com

Memorize Shakespeare Offers Actors New Way to Learn Lines

Memorize Shakespeare Offers Actors New Way to Learn Lines
Tailor-made audio drills cut down study time and increase recall. Actors at all levels can benefit from this new approach to memorization.
Toronto, Canada, January 17, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Memorize Shakespeare, a new Toronto-based company, has launched its flagship product for three of Shakespeare's most popular plays: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and As You Like It. The product, ScenePartner, helps actors learn their lines by listening to them, like learning a foreign language.

Shakespeare’s plays are the most frequently performed in the English language. Professional and amateur productions abound, especially in outdoor summer shows. Performance and study of Shakespeare is a foundation in most theatre schools. However, the difficult subject of memorizing the lines is often glossed over in the curriculum.

"The question I hear most often from first-time Shakespearean actors is, 'How do I memorize all these lines?,' The question isn't trivial," says Memorize Shakespeare founder David McCormick. "Teachers and directors typically answered vaguely: Read them over and over, Drill them... But this is time-consuming and often ineffective."

McCormick created ScenePartner to address this issue for actors. The actor downloads the ScenePartner for his or her desired character. Each “Partner” is an audio album of the lines for that part, which can be played on any digital music player. The lines are split into short segments, optimized for memory retention. At the conclusion of each segment, a bell sounds, and the performer repeats the segment, using the recording as a guide.

This method of rote memorization is not new. Language-learning programs have employed it for decades, and some actors routinely record their lines onto audio recording devices. ScenePartner was developed to save actors the time and trouble of making their own recordings. Inexperienced actors, or those unfamiliar with Shakespeare's more complicated passages also benefit from hearing the difficult language pronounced by an expert reader.

ScenePartner is especially effective because the speaking performer remembers the sound of the phrase instead of the image of the printed page. Busy actors can use the albums to learn their lines without a script in hand, even while commuting or jogging. ScenePartner also has benefits for actors with conditions that might make reading the lines difficult, such as sight impairments or dyslexia.

McCormick is quick to point out that "ScenePartner is not an audiobook or a recorded performance. The lines have been broken down for the quickest possible memorization. Our actors read the text with only the appropriate rhythm and punctuation, not with emotion. That way, the actor learning the lines will not be forced into a particular style or encouraged to mimic another actor."

Memorize Shakespeare plans to expand by three or four plays per year. The next products will be Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. For more information (and a sample), visit www.memorizeshakespeare.com.

About Memorize Shakespeare:

Founded in 2007 by Toronto entrepreneur David McCormick, Memorize Shakespeare aims to provide effective and affordable audio products to aid in the memorization of Shakespeare's plays for actors at all levels. For more information (and a sample), contact David McCormick or visit www.memorizeshakespeare.com.

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