Les Nouvelles Publications: Before talking about your only performance, should you be called Maître or Sébastien? How do you present yourself to people, outside of a professional context?
Mr Sebastien Wust : In general, I say that I am a lawyer/comedian.
Can you come back to your career as a lawyer?
I studied at the University of Aix and got my law degree in 2004. I am registered with the Marseille bar. I opened my practice in 2007 and quickly specialized in the defense of victims of bodily injury.
When did you want to be an actor?
In 2014, following a complicated period, my wife suggested that I do an activity for myself. She said : ” Think of yourself, do something for yourself, to boost yourself! “. And I immediately thought of the theatre, of the stage. So I joined a troupe of amateur actors, but amateur in the legal sense of the term.
This is the lawyer speaking…
Yes, but I want this precision. In sport, we are used to the notion of amateur sportsman. Less in live performance, where there may be a more pejorative notion. We are amateurs because we all have another profession on the side.
When did you write your play? How did you get the idea to start writing?
I wrote it in 2019, I had to play it in 2020, but given the period, it was postponed to 2021. My text is between theater and stand-up.
I took a liking to writing by writing a short scene for a show given with the troupe of the Marseille bar, La Revue du barreau. It was the first time that I found myself alone on stage and I was carried away by this double new experience.
“Master, you have the floor (uh… are you sure?)”, your first piece, talks about your profession, but also about you. However, we have seen the play and it targets a wide audience…
With laughter, I hope to speak to a diverse audience. I was inspired by my anecdotes, but also by those of my colleagues. I am exaggerating, of course, but there is a lot of truth in what I say. I hope that the public comes out of the play understanding a little better our profession and our moods sometimes.
Like knowing that the judge who will study your file a month after your pleading will no longer have your arguments in mind…
Exactly. I wanted, at the end of my show, to take the spectator towards a little more emotions. Then I evoke the lack of means and time of justice. Our frustrations as a lawyer. You know, at first I wanted to be a doctor and then I went into law. But what these two professions have in common is life in the firm. To receive people, to be in their daily life… this closeness is essential to me and I admit that in 18 years, I have seen our working conditions change. With humor, a lot of things happen. I hope to be heard and to demystify the clichés around the lawyer.
Name a few that you address in your single on stage…
The lawyer is a liar, a manipulator. He knows all the laws. He is rich, of course. The lawyer who does not find a formal defect in a file is void. But I think that the first cliché about our profession remains that when we say we are a lawyer, our interlocutor necessarily has a question to ask us, even if it is not our specialty! I could also mention the remark that almost everyone has already made one day: ” But how do you defend child rapists? “.
So how do you do it?
Already, we do not plead this type of case every day. This represents a minority of cases and as you know, everyone has the right to a defence.
To go back to your examples, you imagine a scene where you say that a dentist is not asked to examine your body, on the pretext that he has done medicine…
While we, of course, have the answer to all the legal problems on earth! I set the scene during a wedding. It’s cartoonish, but I’m right.
How do you see the rest after this month spent in Avignon?
I do not oblige myself to anything and do not forbid me anything either. I have a lot of hope with my piece, it’s true. I hope to convince programmers this summer, but I remain lucid and above all I don’t want to appear pretentious. It’s a competitive job and nobody expects me. I hope to bring this show to life for a few more years. I will also take over a piece that I produce. I like being alone as much as in a group.
Are you also a producer?
Yes, in 2018 I created my company Les Wagons Libres. Having your own company allows you to take a show as you see fit.
How does your job help you manage the adrenaline of the stage?
When we plead, especially in assizes, we learn to deal with stress. So that definitely helps me. But stage fright, whether I’m a lawyer or an actor, I always have it.
Can you imagine your life without theatre?
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but stop playing? Never ! Whether with my company or the Marseille bar troupe, alone or with others, I will continue to have two lives for a long time to come.
Last question, more anecdotal perhaps, but which many spectators must ask themselves: on stage, is this your “real” lawyer’s robe?
No, I bought one especially for the stage. I never imagined playing with my work tool.
From January 14 to 16, L’Art Dû theater, Marseille 5e.
May 3 and 4, at Le Flibustier, Aix.
Full Festival Off d’Avignon (dates to come): Pixel theater (Bayaf room), every day (except Tuesday), at 2 p.m.