02:53 min excerpt
I used to work as a prompter in a theatre. I sat in a small dark room on the side off the stage. There was only space for a chair and a script holder that was lit by a tiny light, pointing down on all the lines and stage directions. I knew every line, every movement of all the actor’s bodies. I could only see a slice of the stage, so I had to listen very carefully. If someone forgot a line I had to whisper one or two words to get them started again. But not too fast, the actor could be pausing for effect, and not too slow for the audience to notice the mistake and thereby destroy the illusion.
The prompter is invisible for the audience and sometimes for the actors, but this invisible voice holds a great responsibility for the play’s unfolding. It is a strange position to be in. The actors are happy that you are there, but don’t like constantly being reminded of their own fallibility.