As The Blue Man Group Prepares to descend upon Austin this Holiday Season, Olin Meadows Editor of Austin Entertainment Weekly took a few moments to chat with Daniel Carter, one of men behind the blue….
So ladies and gentlemen we present… Daniel Carter, Blue Man
AEW: What is a Blue Man?
Carter: I love thinking about what a Blue Man is because it is different for every person who sees the a performance. Even among the performers and all people who work on the show there are different interpretations.
I see the Blue Man a bit like an outsider coming to our world for a while and discovering the environment around him for the first time. He approaches many of the things we encounter in everyday life, for example, products we use and consume or more abstract ideas like the way we communicate, in a very innocent way with no preconceived ideas. In that way, he is able to make use of those things in ways which we could not have imagined.
As an actor, on a night-to-night basis, I am constantly trying to tap into the child like sense of wonder and curiosity at the heart of the character.
AEW: Where did the idea, species, or character come from?
Carter: The character was born out of the instincts of the creators, Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton, to look at the world differently. They saw themselves as outside the popular culture and the contemporary art and music scene and ended up creating a character that could look at all that in a unique way.
They took seemingly mundane objects, PVC pipes for instance, and thought “how can we surprise people in the way we use this?” Just by experimenting with the basic physics of what sound a pipe makes when you hit it, they ended up making some incredibly original instruments which play some of the brilliant music we have in the show!
What is so good about how the character was discovered is that those guys have passed that passion for discovery and the urge to create something that is invigorating as well as thought-provoking on to everyone who works at the show. We are always figuring out new ways to perform the work and love the fact that we can take people on this wild journey from the moment they step in the theatre to the moment they leave.
AEW: Is Every Blue Man unique or are they a collective?
Carter: Each Blue Man is unique. They each have their own distinct personality. That is why we are able to improvise so well without using words. We know each of the three characters very well and are able to decide how each Blue Man should react in any situation. Where the fun really starts for us is when things don’t go as we are expecting and somebody we are on stage with finds a new and exciting way to perform a certain moment in the show – a way that we may never have seen before. That is when we have to be on our toes and be ready to go in any direction. It is all about supporting the people you are on stage with and finding ways to make the most exciting discoveries.
AEW: How would you describe the show to people who have never seen Blue Man Group?
Carter: It is about going on a journey with thousands of other people in this giant room and leaving feeling uplifted and exhilarated. The show uses some really exciting theatrical techniques to take people out of their every day lives for a couple of hours and flipping their view of the world on its head. We want people to come along and get involved and by doing so, get in touch with a more playful side of themselves. It is the most fun I have ever had on stage and from the reaction we see night after night it is the most fun a lot people have ever had at the theatre. Honestly the best way to find out what the show is about is to come and see it!
AEW: What moments of the show are your personal favorite?
Carter: I love the moments of audience participation. We never know what is going to happen. The three Blue Men on stage and the musicians in the band have to be ready to turn on a dime and change in the fraction of a second depending on what the audience does. The audience is probably the biggest factor in why the show is different every night. I am not kidding, as I talk about this now, I am actually getting excited about going to work! I am looking forward to seeing exactly what the people who come and see our show tonight will do and how I am going to deal with it.
AEW: Ok, I have to ask why Blue?
Carter: You know what, if you ever find out can you let me know?! But seriously, different people have different ideas about why. That is what makes the character so exciting to play, as there is not one definitive answer as to how we do anything! It is a constant conversation.
Personally, I like to think it is because blue is a pretty neutral color. It doesn’t have the same connotations that other colors have so it allows people to watch the show and the way that the Blue Man acts with very few preconceived ideas and interpret what they see in their own, individual way.
The Blue Man Group takes the stage this Christmas at the Long Center for the Performing Arts!