GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Fortunately, my interview with a blue man was not in character, or this article would be finished before I finished typing this sentence.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
Group of blue men
When: Sep 25-30
Or: DeVos performance hall
Tickets: $ 32 to $ 67 via Ticketmaster
Info .: broadwaygrandrapids.com, 616-235-6285
One of the main characteristics of the three Group of blue men performers is verbal silence. Russell Rinker, a 10-year veteran of the performance art group and one of three Blue Men on the current theatrical tour, said band members are often asked why they aren’t speaking, and the answer is simple: they don’t have to.
“People talk and talk and talk, often when they don’t need it,” said Rinker, calling from a tour stop in Lafayette, La. “It has made me a much better actor. educated stage actor and know how to make a great and expressive performance, but it’s amazing how much you can say without using your voice.
Since they rose to fame in the 1990s, the Blue Men have become iconic. There are always three of them, they are bald, their skin is painted bright blue, they do not speak, they are innocent and mischievous. The shows integrate multimedia presentations and rock music with the physical performances of the Blue Men, who drumming on plastic tubes and interacting with each other and, at times, with the audience.
Original Blue Men Chris Wink, Matt Goldman, and Phil Stanton founded the group in New York City in the 1980s, eventually expanding the institution, settling in Chicago, Las Vegas, London, Boston, and Toronto. The lack of dialogue and the universal nature of the physical performances allowed the show to be an international success, and it has spread to Amsterdam, Tokyo, Stockholm, Vienna and other cities for long performances over the past year. decade.
Blue Man Group became arena-sized tours in 2003 and 2006, and began performing regularly on the Norwegian Cruise Line in 2010. The national theater tour also began last year and will stop in Grand Rapids for eight shows starting September 25. -30, presented by Broadway Grand Rapids.
According to Rinker, the new show will feature classic Blue Man tracks, but mostly material created just for the tour. He said the central irony of the show is that it is Blue Man Group’s most high-tech presentation yet, but the overall theme is a humorous and critical meta-commentary on the glut of technology in modern society.
“We overwhelm you, and as such we (as a society) have a million things happening to us,” he said. “But on the other hand, a Blue Man will look at a marshmallow differently and really explore it. There is a very primary element to that.
“The blue men have always been a reflection, a mirror on society and on ourselves. It’s both high-tech and low-tech stuff… It’s our best and flashiest stuff, but we also don’t care a lot.
The Blue Men have become ubiquitous, appearing regularly in other media. Perhaps most memorable, Blue Man Group was a regular plotline / punchline on the sitcom “Arrested Development,” where David Cross’s character was a Blue Man stand-in; small spots of blue paint could often be found on the sets or on Cross’s body.
It was a recurring joke on the TV show, but it comes close to the truth, according to Rinker.
“It happens everywhere,” he said in a neutral tone. “But we’re diligent in removing it, otherwise you just rub on something and it’s’ Oh, man! “Sometimes you wake up in the morning and the little things in the corner of your eyes are blue. It’s kinda baffling, because it’s in there somewhere and it comes out somehow. another one.
So it would be wise not to ask a blue man for a hug if you ever meet one.
“It’s oily paint, and it stays wet for a very long time,” Rinker said. “We meet and greet the audience after the show, where we’ll take photos and sign autographs, which are thumbprints. People have told us, “I met you last year and the thumbprint is still wet. So we suggest you put hairspray or a piece of tape on it.
Rinker said unmoved that the elite cadre of artists from the Blue Man Group are “very mysterious, like ninjas.” But he does disclose some information: there are between 50 and 60 in the world. The three characters on stage are the Scientist, the Trickster, and the Vulnerable Leader, based on the original Blue Men; the actors will sometimes play different characters from one show to another. During training, new recruits to the Blue Men learn to think collectively, “three as one”.
He also admits that being a blue man is “a very strange way of making a living.”
“Before Blue Man Group, I was in musicals and community theater, and I was always a very talkative person,” said Rinker, who is also a classically trained singer and pianist. “My family can’t believe I can shut up for an hour and a half for a show. People always ask, “Is it hard not to speak?” How do you keep a straight face? ‘ It’s easy when you are focused and have character.