The Prompter of Krumlov
Starring Michael Pechoucek
Single channel video, 11:44 minutes duration, 48 Mhz stereo sound
Supported by the Regional Theatre of Cecky Krumlov, Czech Republic &
Norwich University College of the Arts
PREAMBLE TO A METHOD TO EXPLORE THE LIMITS OF NARRATIVE
It is Sunday afternoon, August 13th, in the exquisitely preserved medieval town of Cesky Krumlov in Southern Bohemia and I am with Czech artist Michal Pechoucek. We are scanning the shops looking for an old man’s coat, hopefully several sizes too big for Michal, but amongst the few cloths shops that exist we can find nothing. This adds to my already rising sense of panic. Since arriving in Krumlov a few days before all my plans seem to have met failure; I am to work with Pechoucek, who is to be my actor, on a new video set in the towns’ renowned Baroque Theatre, but the new Director has suddenly said NO and so I have had to abandon my ideas and my carefully laid scripts. Now I only know that I want a particular costume for Pechoucek, this coat, but even this too seems to have failed. I suggest that we explore a nearby courtyard. We look around eventually wandering through an open door into a dark corridor. We see three locked doors. We walk upstairs to find more locked doors, but notice one door handle tightly bound with wire attached to a nail in the wall. We undo the wires, open the door and find an abandoned apartment. It has clearly been empty for years and there is all manner of books, postcards, and shoes on the floor and in the cupboards. In one room there is a table on which there are empty glass jars, chess-nuts, buttons and a large neat pile of cigarette butts all covered with a thin layer of dust. And next to the table is a chair on which is draped a large old man’s Macintosh coat and a pair of brown trousers. We had found our costume, and also the first setting for ‘The Prompter of Krumlov’.
SYNOPSIS & PREMISE
The implications of this exhilarating chain of coincidences were to develop into a working method; by chance I later found another local theatre, and given the loss of my own script found myself increasingly preoccupied with the question what is a fictional character afterall? And what if my character was also the one figure that was also the guardian of the script and the only one who knows all the words of all the roles of the story - The Prompter? What would be the implications if The Prompter too became a fictional character, who then abandons first the play, the theatre, his apartment, the UNESCO protected town of Krumlov with it’s own highly scripted touristic narratives, and finally even my own video. This would be a kind of impossible escape, and I remain fascinated and troubled by the thought of what kind of world The Prompter left behind him, where the very possibility of remembering a script, any narrative at all, has been removed, and what kind of world would a script-less fictional Prompter be escaping to? These questions informed my whole thinking and approach to this work.
This work stars Czech artist Michal Pechoucek in the title role as The Prompter of Krumlov.
Location support was given by the regional theatre of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.
The research and production phase have been supported by the Fine Art Research Group, Norwich University College of the Arts UK.