Marius Manole: “My goal is to help people live more beautifully”

Aged 37, Marius Manole has been playing on the scene of the National Theater in Bucharest for 14 years. He performs here in nine plays – only for the current season (2015-2016) –, besides many other projects he is involved in. He doesn’t believe in the joy that lasts longer than one day when receiving no matter what prize or award, but these things represent the recognition for a “total actor” who tries to get into each role with his entire being. And the public feels this and they love him for his honesty. Although he doesn’t do it on purpose; even a coffee talk with him turns into the amazement of watching him perform.

How was a day in the life of child Marius Manole back in the days when he started to get the feeling that what he wanted to do was to perform in shows? 

Well, it was just like that, every day was… a show. I wasn`t standing still for a minute, this is what I was doing – giving spectacles. Both in school, and in front of my house, and the theater club and everywhere I would go, my desire to stand out was clear and embarrassing. There wasn’t any place where I would go by unnoticed: sometimes it was for good reasons, other times for bad reasons… For example, I would set people’s door on fire, I would throw pickles from the balcony or I would play hooky from school. And I was just a second grader, this wasn’t happening back then. 

Does this mean that you would get physically scolded quite often? 

Obviously, not a day would pass by without me getting it. From my parents, from the children in my neighborhood, I would get it from everywhere. So, as an adult, my desire for revenge is very high… (he says laughing) 

There is a saying about the young people who don’t succeed in life because “they didn’t get a sound thrashing at the right time”. So you are the inverse example: you were scolded, therefore you got to know success? 

I got sound thrashings at my time, indeed. My dad knew it right…this is how it was back then. But no kid would think he was being traumatized because of this. Whenever we didn’t get scolded, we were amazed and we were thinking: “I did’t get it for some time now, I need to do something!” 

We weren’t so easy to hurt. The times when I grew up were quite traumatizing, so these things were the least important of our lives. It was more difficult to bear other things which we didn’t really have much contact with. But, we had the feeling that we were living tough times. My parents were not intellectuals, my father was a foreman and my mother was a weaver, but we would listen to Free Europe Radio at home. 

Back in those days, workers were also reading a lot. The library in our home was full of books before I sold them at the antique bookstore, because I realized it is possible to make decent money out of this. Our insurgence, when we were 10-12 years old, was going out on the street saying: “Ceaușel and Ceaunica did this and that…” Then our parents would make us get inside the house telling us that we shouldn’t be doing this. 

Another time when we had contact with the system was when we attended the parades on the Iași stadium. I, as a noble pupil of the city, would tell poems to Ceaușescu. But back then, we were not ashamed of doing this. We were proud of what we were doing. 

Now, after three decades, how does a day in the life of the actor – and we could even say the “brand” – Marius Manole look like?

Let’s speak about yesterday! I woke up at 5.30 a.m., I left for Smart FM Radio – where I do the morning show together with Marius Tucă. Once I got back home, I went to the park and I ran for five kilometers, I came back home to take a shower and then go to the massage, I came back home to walk the dog and in the evening – I had aperformance. This is…a vacation day. 

Today, Saturday, there is no morning show – again another vacation day! I woke up at 8:00 a.m., I went to Carol Park to run eight kilometers, I walked the dog, I took a shower, I came to give this interview, after that I’ve got break – once more I do some activity in the park – and in the evening performance again. 

So, I gather that this position of the actor who hurries from one play to another is not incompatible with being happy, since you have named two full days “vacation”? 

Fortunately, as long as you do what you love, it doesn’t seem like work. Of course, there is routine, fatigue, boredom, but it’s not like I plow the land for a living. 

What is the most difficult part in the life of an actor? 

The most difficult thing is that you must be in shape always. If an ordinary person can afford not to be in shape, actors need to be in a good physical and mental shape all day long. If I get up at 5:00 a.m., this means that at 7:00 a.m. I have to be in shape for three hours during the morning show; likewise for rehearsals and performances. There are days when I am not in the mood and I have to act nice, but I don’t do this them anymore. I don’t act nice when I am not in the mood to do so. 

Are there days when Marius Manole, a beloved actor, is… obnoxious? 

Yes, but there aren’t so many days and I am not that obnoxious. I like the actors that are very arrogant and rude, but I am not able to act like them. I mean, I am rude where I shouldn’t be and I mess things up, but I am not rude with the people who would deserve my rudeness. 

This is how it is with me. The seven years of education have a saying in this. I fight, I scream at people whom I love, people who are my best friends. But I am all humble with those who aren’t worth two pennies! 

Read full interview in The Art of Living no 15 DOWNLOAD