“I’m trying to get on with the call. First I will ask you what he is doing and how he is feeling, “described acrobat Daniel Komarov. “It is important to find out if the caller wants to talk or if he would rather listen,” adds actor Jiří Kohout.
The aim of the whole project is to lift people’s spirits and stay in touch with the audience, who now do not have the opportunity to go to the performance. “We are such a line against obstinacy,” Kohout describes with a smile.
Like other telephone operators, it diversifies the call by calling not only talking, but also singing, playing the guitar, telling jokes, reading fairy tales and even playing memory games from a distance. “Sometimes I surprise myself what I start to do,” laughs the actor.
Hana Vagnerová reads a bedtime story to the caller.
“Once my master called me to say that they had canceled his Sunday Mass, so if I could not read him something like Mass. So I found it on the internet and read it, “Daniel Komarov recalls.
The cameras also broadcast events in the makeshift exchange live on the social networks of the ensemble and the theater.
The length of one call takes about seven minutes. “Last time a gentleman asked me if I could teach him to juggle, so he learned from me over the phone and a video,” explains Komarov.
Through live broadcasts on social networks, Daniel Komarov teaches the caller to juggle.
He also added that acting as a telephone operator and having impromptu conversations is often the same challenge as taking the stage for a theatrical performance. Nevertheless, he and other members of the ensemble are happy to continue to stay in touch with the audience.
“The aim of the interview is to help and at least listen to the other. Even if I only have to be in the role of a willow and someone could tell me something that is bothering him, then it is the most basic thing we can do, “Komarov thinks.
According to the playwright of the La Putyka Circus and the co-author of the project, Jana Stárková, the members of the ensemble are also prepared for someone calling in a crisis situation or severe mental problems. “Unfortunately, we are not a crisis center. However, our operators are ready for such a situation. We have prepared telephone numbers for professional help, where we can refer people, “she said.
Six theatergoers call the public every Sunday and Monday.
Visiting artists also take turns with the members of the ensemble in the telephone exchange; last week, for example, singer Barbora Poláková or actors Marek Němec and Hana Vagnerová sat on the telephones.
Stárková also added that the project will try to be maintained for as long as possible, at least as long as the theaters remain closed. “We have other activities and we do not know how it will be combined. We would definitely like to keep the exchange alive, “he wishes. Within two hours, the operators will be able to talk to more than a hundred callers.
Switchboard78 comes to life on Sundays and Mondays from 6 am to 8 pm. Anyone can call not only actors, but also musicians, acrobats or producers. The caller does not pay anything for the call, it is only paid for the normal fee of its operator.