The color blue is known for feelings of peace and calmness, but there’s a certain company of performers who give the color much more meaning.
Blue Man Group, the critically acclaimed entertainers performing shows throughout the world, are coming soon to the Civic Theatre in San Diego as part of the first-ever touring performance. Recently, The Daily Aztec was able to chat with Blue Man Group performer Patrick Newton about the ins and outs of being blue.
The Daily Aztec: What is it like being a Blue Man?
Patrick Newton: It’s a lot of fun. I went to school for musical theater, so just to have a job where, especially in this economy, I can do what I was trained to do and what I love to do is pretty awesome. And just to have a job where your job is to make other people’s lives better, or more fun, or to make people want to have fun is just a blast.
DA: How long does it take to get in the Blue Man costume?
PN: The process is kind of split up. When you talk about the whole costume, there are layered steps to it. We get certain warm-up clothes on and then we do a sound check, then we come back and start putting on glue to hold down the cap, then we put the cap on which takes a few steps. Then we go have a company meeting and get fired up for the show, then we come back and start putting the blue on and the costume. But you can probably do it condensed in about half an hour.
DA: What exactly is the “blue” the performers wear?
PN: It’s greasepaint. When you put it on, it’s condensed in a little cake. You almost can spread it on your head like frosting. It’s kind of gross.
DA: Is it uncomfortable to perform in?
PN: It’s hotter, it’s uncomfortable, it gets in your eyes and up your nose and you swallow it. But it’s part of the job, and when you use it enough you get used to it. I don’t really think about it anymore. But occasionally it gets a little cumbersome.
DA: What are the qualifications to become a Blue Man?
PN: Blue Man is cool because there are a lot of different backgrounds. Without giving away too much, there’s music in it and there’s comedy and there’s science and art and all sorts of really cool stuff. There’s a lot of percussion in it, so you need to have some sort of background in percussion or at least be able to have a skill level that you do a
DA: Is it true that there is a certain physical appearance required to become a Blue Man?
PN: There’s a ballpark, for sure. Sometimes they talk about the Silver Surfer look, bald and athletically built. But it’s definitely not restricted to just that. I know some guys who are shorter and taller and thinner and bigger. It’s definitely not just restricted to men, either. There have been females in the company as well.
DA: What’s the weirdest prop you have to work with?
PN: It’s funny, because in the show Blue Man finds these ordinary things from the world as we know. Like there’s this part about Cap’n Crunch, and he doesn’t really know what it’s for, so he kind of experiments with it … So we get these weird random things that we find and get to explore and figure out in a new way what they do. The Cap’n Crunch is pretty fun.
DA: What exactly is a Blue Man?
PN: I’ve heard it said before that he comes out of a bucket of paint. I don’t think it’s something set in stone. We don’t say, “He comes from paint,” or “He comes from space.” He’s not an alien, he’s not a mime or anything like that. He comes from somewhere and he’s this creature or this being that, as an audience member, we can see some of our tribal interests and instincts reflected back without any kind of social distortion or connotation we can put on ourselves.
DA: Anything else you’d like to add?
PN: I really have a good time doing this, and if nothing else, maybe people will come see it knowing that the guys who are up there are just as excited about doing it as the people watching it. I have just a blast, I really do. It’s my job to make sure everyone else has fun. It’s gonna be a party, I promise.