Line Runs and Life Changes

This past week, I had the wonderful privilege of running lines with one of our community members for our upcoming production of The Elephant Man. We start line memorization early in the rehearsal process here at The Bench. My line buddy, Traci, and I have worked together on three shows: Wonderful last year (both of us as part of the octo-chorus), Transient Voices, where we helped to bring the stories of the Sanctuary community to life, and now The Elephant Man. Traci has seen a lot of stuff in her life, but she’s also one of the most encouraging people I know, and it’s a joy to watch her face light up, usually when I do silly things in warm-up (someone has to be the class clown).

One of the greatest areas of growth that I’ve seen in Traci over the course of the last three productions is her dedication to memorization. So it came as no surprise that when I arrived at our line rehearsal last Thursday, she already had one whole scene nearly off-book. We fought with the words for an hour, and as we went into rehearsal that night, I was proud to pull the book out of her hand during the run and watch her do it by herself.

What does line memorization have to do with life skills, or self-improvment, or anything, really? Aren’t the arts just an airy-fairy waste of time? Try telling that to someone like Traci, who is moving towards such a high level of work, and who has found inspiration in her life from the arts that she does; not inspiration to be an professional actor, but inspiration to be her best self… maybe a higher calling. I’ve heard her say more than once, “I’m doing things with my life now.” If line memorization leads to this kind of attitude, this kind of achievement, count me in for line rehearsals for as long as I have breath.


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