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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Under the blue paint: an interview with a Blue Man

Adam Erdossy from the Blue Man Group

Adam Erdossy is a Blue Man, one of the blue-skinned humanoid entertainers that combines music, theater, comedy, and technology into an act that has branched globally from the late 1980s, beginning in New York. Erdossy describes the experience of inhabiting the character of a Blue Man, the evolution of the show, and the places his job has taken him.

Q: What is the process of getting into the Blue Man costume like?

A: The actual complexity of the makeup isn’t nearly as fascinating as the transformation. The first time you put the makeup on, you’re faced in the mirror with an unrecognizable you, but it’s just paint. It’s actually made especially for the show.

Q: Have you ever forgotten you were wearing the makeup and accidentally shocked yourself or someone?

A: Yeah. And when I’m not doing the show I’ll see the guys, and the image is mystical and striking. Even me, who I’ve been doing the show for eight years, can walk in and think, “Wow, that is intense!”

Q: Where did you grow up and go to school? Have you always wanted to be an actor?

A: Raised in Vermont, I went to Wheaton College where I discovered I wanted to be an actor. I went to the National Theater Institute in Connecticut and then moved to New York. There I became a Blue Man, and have traveled the world ever since.

Q: What are the common character attributes between all Blue Men?

A: The Blue Man is mysterious. You typically understand a character through their [facial expressions and mannerisms]. With the Blue Man that stuff is taken away. Hopefully, that allows you to access and see the innocence he has. [Curiosity and otherworldliness] are all fundamental elements. At the beginning of the show he might seem foreign, but by the end, the audience sees him as part of what is human in its basic form.

Q: How many actors play Blue Men at the Boston location?

A: Here we have a rotating cast of five right now. Everybody plays the roles and switches around equally.

Q: Do the individual Blue Man have their own personality?

A: The original three Blue Men, [Chris Wink, Matt Goldman, and Phil Stanton], the three of them developed the three characters. They each played what we call “Left”, “Center”, and “Right”. Each of those roles became what they are out of that.

Q: So you are acting as them acting as Blue Men?

A: Yes. They still come and talk to us, and give us inspiration and notes. Over the years we learn to improvise as each character, due to the interaction with the audience each night.

Q: How long has the show been running?

A: The show initially started in New York about 25 years ago and it’s been evolving ever since. It’s been in several cities in the US; now currently in five, plus a tour. I myself also performed in the Tokyo show for four and a half years [out of the eight I have been a Blue Man]. Tokyo was a blast.

Q: Is the show different per region?

A: There are similarities, but it differs per city. A show on a cruise ship or at the casino in Las Vegas is different than what we can do in Boston. The tours have to move everything around and and set up quickly. But the goal of the show is the same, to get people connected and regain a sense of play and joy we used to have. [Children] see a Blue Man and are absolutely fascinated. But grandparents come up to you and have that same glimmer in their eye.
Q: How has the show and its educational factor changed with the times?

A: The role of the Blue Man is to help people deconstruct the way that we interact with each other, and this changes with technology. So the [text messaging and giant smartphones] became necessary. In that sense, the show is constantly changing with what is happening around us.
Q: What is your favorite part of the show?

A: There is a scene in the show where we invite an audience member on stage to [participate in a ritual] through which the Blue Man character is trying to help us all learn more about each other. The three of us scan for the person that could fulfill this role, and the stakes are really high. That part of the show is fun because it is absolutely different every night, depending upon who is invited up. That is unique. Other productions might [use an actor], but here the person is absolutely from the audience.

The Blue Man Group is currently playing at the recently renovated theater of the Charles Playhouse. Students can purchase student rush tickets at the venue for $30. For more information, visit www.blueman.com.