Five Minutes With Phil Stanton
Phil Stanton is co-founder of the Blue Man Group and a Grammy-nominated musician, composer, writer and performer.
Speaking with Victoria Tait he talks about how the Blue Man concept has evolved over the years and what we can expect to see at their first-ever Christchurch performance. The Blue Man Group will be performing at Isaac Theatre Royal form the 21st June-3rd July.
You started the Blue Man Group back in 1988. How would you say the show has developed and changed since then?
Well, it has always been an experiment, or an exploration of the things that made us feel truly human, the things that excited us – art, science, and human connection. I would say that the goal of the show hasn’t changed – the goal has always been to bring a group of strangers together for a moment of collective euphoria. But the specific things we explore over the course of the show are different, because of course, the world is different, technology has evolved.
For those who don’t know, can you briefly explain what sort of entertainment we can expect to see from the Blue Man Group?
I think that you can expect to experience a very visceral type of entertainment. We really hope to make you feel things, to feel perhaps a little stirring inside yourself, a reminder of how you used to feel as a child. Maybe a refresher on how to see the world with a sense of wonder again.
What does the blue face paint represent?
We didn’t really overanalyse in the beginning. We knew we wanted an image that would be arresting, that might cut through the visual noise. As we walked down the streets of New York, we wondered what would cause people to stop and look, to break out of their own thoughts for a moment and reconnect, interact with the world around them, and the image of this bald and blue character came to mind.
Why don’t the Blue Men speak?
Funny thing, the Blue Men seem to say much more without speaking than they do with words.
Do you know how many Blue Men there are worldwide? And, also, what do you need to become a Blue Man?
We probably have about 50 active Blue Men in the world at any given time. Our casting team typically sees about 1000 people in order to find just seven. It takes a very unique skill set to be a Blue Man. There needs to be a visual uniformity to the Blue Men, so you have to be between 5’10” and 6’2″, you need to be a skilled drummer, and acting training is definitely an asset.
What’s the biggest misconception about the group?
Great question. I think that most people don’t know how often we are working on new content and updating the show with new material. We always want to keep the show fresh and relevant, responding to the world around us.
In your other shows you supply raincoats for some audience members? Can you tell us why? And will this be something we will see in Christchurch?
Well, they protect clothing from any stray paint that might find its way off the stage, but even better – they add a bit of excitement and anticipation. You just never know what might happen.