In theatre the prompter follows the script and instructs the performers if they forget lines, an action or a position on stage. This role has practically disappeared in modern theatre; if any prompts are needed, they are usually given by the stage manager. We often use prompts in everyday life: reminders from social media, our mobile phones or blogs and the more classical post-it on the fridge door or changing a ring to the other hand. These prompts usually remind us about practical things that we want to do. How could we prompt ourselves when we are wanting to make way for new thoughts, emotions or practices?
We are used to the idea that theatre, dance and music pieces are written and set, so that every interpretation is a reproduction of the original within a certain margin for variation. Notation can never capture every detail of action. The map can never be as rich as the territory. Already in the Baroque period, composers wrote scores that provided a backbone for musicians to improvise to. Wanting to perform a set script for our life is bound to bring frustration, because there is so much out of our control. However, we all have needs and preferences in life that we want to address. How about using a score to compose in real time in order to keep the essential orientation while remaining open and flexible regarding the way in which progress?
We are used to theatre, dance and music pieces being pre-written, so the performers know exactly what’s going to happen. Do you believe that your life has also been written in advance? If so, how does that make you feel? Are you aware of the many opportunities in which you are free to bend the script? In spite of scripts and directors, once the performer is on stage, nobody can stop them from doing whatever they want. If they don’t it’s because they have committed to making the show as planned. When one feels bound by some script in their life, it’s worth asking oneself if this is the show that lies close to one’s heart. If not, perhaps it’s time to ad lib.