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400 Day LETS Odyssey
Copyright � James Taris

JAMES TARIS around the World- (2003-4)

The photo says it all.

FRANCE - Montellimar (Wk.1 of 3 weeks)
Week 10 of World Tour

Hollywood Here I Come

Whereas Shanghai (China) 2003 will always be remembered as the place I became a playwright, Montelimar (France) 2003 will always be remembered as the place I became an actor ... well, sort of. Because for the 3 weeks I was hosted there, all I did was learn my play off-by-heart! And what a massive job that ended up being.

I had to learn about 80 minutes of monologue (10,000 words!) which would be about the equivalent of learning a 100 page paperback book word-for-word. In fact, come to think of it, it IS a book!

You see, my goal is to perform my play in every country I go to, and so far I've given readings of my play in Athens (Greece), Helsinki (Finland) and Stockholm and Goteborg (both in Sweden). But from here on, all my performances will be without notes!

The play was written in 8 parts of about 10 minutes each, so I learnt 3 parts in my first week, 3 parts in my second week and the last 2 parts in my third week.

Can you imagine that? That's not bad for a guy who's usually forgotten what he said just a minute ago!

I remember all the speeches I gave at my Toastmasters Club back in Melbourne. My initial attempts to memorise my 7 minute speeches usually resulted in very nervous presentations. So I eventually conceded that it wasn't that important to shove so much information into my brain because after delivering it to my club I'd have no more use for it. This resulted in just about all of my latter speeches being read to my audience, as I considered the writing of my speech to be much more important than the memorising, and it wasn't in the least stressful.

The big change in my attitude came during my European LETS Tour last year. I travelled to 8 countries, over 3 months, speaking to LETS groups for 1 and a half to 2 and a half hours, and all without notes! Talk about being a confidence builder! So from then on I considered myself as a competent (professional?) public speaker.

Then I suppose the brain kicked in and said, "James, if you can talk for a couple of hours about a topic you know well, and love, then you should be able to memorise an 80 minute play you know well and love." So once I realised it wasn't such a daunting task, I took up the challenge and voila ... now I'm an actor!

But it was a lot of fun. Each time I'd learn a new part, I'd repeat the entire play up until that part, so I made sure I didn't forget any of it. And as I repeated it, I'd give some thought to the delivery ... the acting. And forgive me for sounding a little cocky, but I'm bloody good! Hense my reference to Hollywood above.

The only downside to this is, so I don't run the risk of forgetting it ... I'VE GOT TO REHEARSE IT EVERY DAY!

This article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey

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