Ah, what a total pain in the ass.
But obviously necessary.
Everyone has their own best way to tackle this task.
I type or write them out.
Some people tape their cues, leaving space for the line.
Some people need someone to run lines with them.
Some people just read them over and over until they stick.
Eventually, though, you will have a pretty good grasp of your lines – not perfect – but pretty good.
Again, obviously, pretty good is not good enough.
Also, if you are like me – one of the hardest parts of learning lines is also learning my cues.
What’s a fat old lady to do?
Find someone to run lines with.
For one thing – you have to start vocalizing those lines. To get used to how they feel in your mouth and to your ear.
My preference is not someone in the show (that’s fine if you just want to speed run – running through the lines as fast as you can, so they fall trippingly from the tongue).
I’m lucky to have the perfect line runner througher – my husband.
What I like is after we have run the lines, he then has questions about my part, about how my part fits into the show, about the lines and what surrounds those lines.
Besides running lines, he helps me feel out and fill out my character.
He shows me what I simply feel/know about the character and where I need to think more about it.
He offers me his insights and ideas about the character. Some of it I use, some of it I don’t – but I have to explain to myself (and him) why it’s not a good fit for the character I am creating.
This is my favorite part of a show – the practice, the rehearsal, the learning, the thinking.
So find yourself someone like my husband (you can’t have him, he’s busy running lines with me).
Preferably someone who is a thinker and analyzer.
Even better someone who doesn’t quite think the same way you do – my husband is a mechanical engineer. He’s a very practical guy; but he is also a writer and a creative person; and we don’t think the same way. He often sees things from a different angle than I do, and I’ll admit it, he’s a fuck ton smarter than I am – about a lot of things.
So however you learn your lines, once you have a handle on them – say those lines, act them, consider them – and if possible, find someone you trust to help you run them.