By Rowena Lindsay, deputy inside editor
Bald-capped and painted blue, Blue Man Group performs at the Charles Playhouse- and the shows are much more than drumming and face paint. Part rave, part dinner party, part art or music class gone wrong, this Boston-based, Avant-garde theatre troupe is hilarious and the actors never even speak.
The show opens with each blue man drumming, silhouetted against a glowing backdrop. As soon as the audience gets accustomed to this, one blue man starts pouring paint on the skins of the drums, sending paint flying into the air and setting the tone for the rest of the show.
The trio of blue men establish a Three Stooges-like dynamic with their physical comedy. The blue men never talk, so the comedy and story come from their movement, expressive eyes and the three-piece band that acts as a voice to the actors and helps perfect comedic timing.
“When the blue men go out and explore the crowd, the band is sort of acting as a sort of shamanic presence to tell that story, so we are constantly creating new stuff with all the shows,” Randy Wooten, drummer for Blue Man Group’s backing band, said.
Music from both the band and the blue men themselves is prevalent throughout the show. The trio plays a variety of drums and creates several of their own percussion instruments out of tubes and PVC pipes throughout the show. This same creativity is applied to the lyrics of their music as well. The finale is a crowd-wide rave to a song about the many euphemisms for the word butt.
But below the surface of all of the silly skits and vignettes, Blue Man Group is sending a social message about the way society communicates.
“What [the Blue Man character] is, fundamentally, is an attempt to reconnect to the self and the people around you,” Blue Man Group actor Adam Erdossy said. “There are a lot of things that shift drastically, like technology. The way we interacted with each other ten years ago is very different than it is now. So we have had to keep up with that to try to keep people aware of how important it is that the way we have genuine interactions is changing drastically.”
Several skits portray this message very literally through the blue men’s interactions with “giPads” – giant iPads that speak. One skit pokes fun at e-readers by saying “we want to do for reading what texting has done for driving,” and another shows a text conversation about how unappealing the real world sounds because in “real life” there is no firewall to keep out people you don’t like.
Despite the messages that the show is sending, it never gets too serious.
“There is a playfulness with that,” Wooten said. “It gets back to that theme of staying connected and sometimes with new technology, such as texting and iPhones, we lose sight of the fact that we can actually have a conversation with someone and actually have an experience with them and in the show we are all having a communal experience and that is a big theme.”
For the blue men themselves, as well as the audience, the show is a journey of discovery.
The blue man character is “an innocent, kind of comedic, mysterious being that when you first interact with him he seems very foreign because of the blue make-up and the bald, but hopefully the arch of the show leads you to realize how similar we are with the blue man character. Perhaps what he is, is the embodiment of just being genuinely innocent and human,” Erdossy said. “What is fun about that is that, in the show, the blue man does not know that either, that is what he is trying to figure out too.”
With prices ranging from $69.75 to $106.85, tickets for Blue Man Group can be purchased online at blueman.com. Student rush tickets are also available for $30 two hours prior to the show.