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Shades of Blue - Blue Man Group comes to Bangor

October 4, 2013
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Blue Man in Bangor

BANGOR The Blue Man Group is coming to Bangor, and it's no secret. When lines opened for tickets, they were sold out almost instantly.

The Blue Man Group is a phenomenon - a blending of performance art, percussive music and comedy. They've been a sensation since the late '80s and early '90s, and now they're coming here. We had a chance to chat with Mike Brown, one of the three people who will be performing Blue Man at the Cross Insurance Center on Oct. 10.

'Working for Blue Man is completely awesome. It's a dream come true. It's a wonderful company that is infused with everything I enjoy: drumming, acting, the themes and messages it works towards,' he said.

The show is all about connectivity and how we as a society connect or don't connect. And Blue Man is about bringing everyone together and allowing ourselves to experience the world and explore it. In other words, it's about unleashing your inner Blue Man (whether you're male or female).

'Blue Man doesn't speak. We sometimes say Blue Man chooses not to speak. He looks at things in a different way. He chooses to find more innovative and unique ways to communicate,' said Brown. 'We communicate with the eyes. The eyes are a window into him and a window out to look at the world around him. There is a lot of emotion that he is conveying constantly: Wonder, curiosity, danger, love, fear. It's all a multitude of things that he's conveying.'

Being a Blue Man means not only being able to convey these feelings, but also not being afraid to be physical and funny and dramatic all at once. But the other form of communication is through their creative use of music.

'He also uses music to communicate in a tribal and instinctual way. Really hone in on a person's feeling and soul and get they excited,' Brown said. 'Blue Man uses music visibly, whether using paint to make the sound come to life, or smoke with an instrument. He visibly brings things to life that you normally can't see.'

And making those connections with audiences across the country is one of the things that Brown enjoys.

'One of the larger themes is about connecting everybody in a larger community and about sharing things in a communal way,' he said. 'When two tribes were to meet they would interact cautiously at first. Then they would share things with each other or exchange gifts. It becomes a give and take between Blue Man and the audience in the show and becoming that much more massively connected at the end of the show.'

He hopes that audience members will then take that and share it with the rest of their community. It's integral to the art of Blue Man.

Being a Blue Man is something that stays with Brown, long after the blue grease paint is wiped away.

'I am a lot more aware of my surroundings and of how to interact with people. Every facet of interaction, even just going up to buy something you're entering into someone else's day. It's really kind of deep and it's affected my life,' Brown said.

Brown noted that being a Blue Man is a little like being a superhero. Once the blue paint is gone, no one recognizes him.

'No one knows who you are. I could do the show for you and then see you on a bus. You wouldn't recognize me, but I would recognize you. That's part of the magic of it. I would see you in a different light, but you aren't looking at me as a Blue Man anymore,' he said.

There are several iterations of Blue Man going on simultaneously across the country, so obviously there are more than just three people playing Blue Man. Even though they are technically playing the same character, music and performance, they are all slightly different.

'Who we are as people and even the day we've just been through makes it different. It's really fun to have that outlet and to let out our own creative instincts out,' he said.

And the show has changed as a show about a connected society will as our ways of interacting have changed. When Blue Man started, there was no YouTube or Facebook. Cell phones were for the elite, and social media wasn't even in its infancy.

'Now that the world has gotten smaller, in that we're connected that much more - way more people know about Blue Man through social media and even phone pictures. All of that is something Blue Man is really interested in investigating and exploring,' Brown said. 'iPhones, the internet, social media pages, tablets - we hide behind these objects. These are all themes the show has taken on.'

When Brown, a student of theatre and drum enthusiast, saw a Blue Man show in 1999, his mind was blown. When the show was over he had blue paint on him and paper wrapped around his head. He recalled that one of his friends who had gone with him had managed to get a piece of piping from the show that had been left behind he asked his friend for it.

A Virginia native, he moved to New York, but wasn't interested in doing all the hustling to land an acting gig. So he began working as crew, doing the scenic and stage work for shows, landing a job with Blue Man. When a call for open auditions came up, he was a little nervous since he had just signed on with them as a stage hand and didn't want to leave them short staffed. But he knew he needed to jump at the chance. He landed a role as Blue Man in Training.

'I'm still a huge fan of the show. I'm just a fan that knows a lot more than other fans. I still love it and I've been doing it for 10 years,' he said.

Brown thinks that everyone has a little Blue Man in them, and part of the wonder of the show is allowing him to come out and experience the world in a fresh, new way.

'One of the themes is, we want to tap into everybody's Blue Man and let out that innocence and curiosity and scientific wonder,' he said. And he hopes that exactly what this show will do.

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 13:43

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