El apuntador / The Prompter

First published in Spanish and English in Juan Muñoz: Monólogos y diálogos, Palacio de Velàzquez. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid [cat. exh], p. 93 and p.94


It must have been afternoon, when leaning on the window, we began to speak about the city, the majestic Königsplatz and the Glyptothek. … At some moment, I no longer remember why, I referred to the importance that dwarves had in the formal courts of the period. … Sometime later, or maybe just before, I mentioned to him that that same morning I had read in the bus, while returning from the gardens of Nymphenburg …although now that I think about it, it must have been a tram for I remember something of the rails or something particular in the stop, yes, it must have been a tram… yes, it was then that I mentioned to him that Cuvilliés [François de Cuvilliés; 1695-1768], the Rococo architect of the buildings that I had seen in the garden, was also a dwarf.

Many afternoons have passed since that afternoon and now everything appears somewhat distorted by the whims of memory, but I think I remember that it was then that I mentioned to him a semicircular building without doors and only one tall window through which, almost at eye level, extends a wide, long, always identical flat surface called a proscenium.

We looked through a few books, yes it must have been before the end of the afternoon when I started telling him about that house in the middle of a street. …The first thing to do was to dig a hole… Not to lift the earth or make an opening in the ground, but to build a house-like hole…That… that must have been what I said, a house where there is only a hole… and in it, living in it, a standing dwarf, immobile.

I see it all and it is all in front of that hole… on top (an immense unprotected surface where everything is feet and all the feet walk) the pride of eloquence, the delight of the romantic encounter and the warm intonation of the voice, carpets and thief-like steps.

The actor stops for a moment, vacillates, unsure but indifferent he gets closer to the hole…And in the hole: narrowness, closeness, no disappointment, nor conquests, nor landscapes in the distance…It must have been then, at the end of the afternoon, that I mentioned to him that in the square of the Xemaa-el-Fna some storytellers say they can recite the Koran by heart…No, it wasn’t like that, now I remember…In front of that house there is no audience nor work, there is only a spectator placed in the centre of the scene, immobile, suspended, trying not to forget something.