The one who (sometimes) played a role


21:00 . Doing theatre grants that possibility of escaping into someone else’s life. It’s not that I don’t like my life, I do! But I find it useful to practice being in someone else’s shoes, to see the world from another perspective.
Oh, are you going to take a photo now? Please do not make me look like an alcoholic – my mum could see this!

Manuel works as a consultant on EU government relations and technology, at Burson-Marsteller in Brussels. He also performs in various theatre plays.

– Something my director told me is “never judge the character you are playing”. Playing a role means trying to understand the character behaves a certain way – even if behaving in a way that you disagree with. I love playing characters whom I disagree with. Theatre is about learning, about embracing who you are outside of social conventions and testing your limits.
I find that it fits right into what I want from life at the moment: my current aim is to learn as much as I can about EU policy and how things work within the EU bubble, which is why I find working in consultancy great: I work with people who are not always in agreeance and I get to see different perspectives. I learn about the different roles of institutions and stakeholders, I get an insight into ‘who is playing which part’.
I am not politically oriented yet, but I am very much interested in European politics. First, I want to see what’s happening around me and theatre comes into that as well – because theatre helps me be more eloquent, tell a story and also see how the public reacts to a story. How do you explain to an audience something that you already know? A role is only played properly if it is channelled through you as a person, people need to understand what you are saying and be convinced by it – so in a sense theatre helps in politics. Maybe someday I will be in politics. Maybe never. Maybe I will get into acting instead. Maybe I will stay in consultancy! I have no clue yet and that is fine, because I am still learning.
You think I am special? That is sweet. I think I am weird and I am proud of it, but not special. Special is just the politically correct way of saying weird.

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