278 - Blue Magic!

Um pouco de ator, um pouco de músico, mas sobretudo mímico: no seu deslumbrante show, estes Blue Men transmitem um mix de ritmo, diversão e energia em estado puro. E a cabeça azul? Ouça a explicação na voz de um deles, Michael Dahlen.
by Lorenza Cerbini.

Usually “performance artists” appear in minor festivals, but the “Blue Man Group” is a commercial success. There are several “Blue Man Groups” and they regularly appear on American television. If you visit the United States, you can see their live shows in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando. You can also see them perform in Berlin and Tokyo. The concept is bizarre, yet simple: the heads of the “Blue Men” are covered in blue paint. They don’t speak on stage, but they play music and mime. Each Blue Man group consists of three actors. Michael Dahlen is one of the many “Blue Men” currently in operation. We asked him to explain the origins of the group:

Michael Dahlen
(Standard American accent)

It was founded right here in New York City, by Matt Goldman, Chris Wink and Phil Stanton, and they have formed over that time a lifetime friendship that continues to this day, they continue to run the company, and two of them had worked together, I think, in a catering company, and they were always interested in art and science and technology and theater, and I think they kind of wanted to create something that they were interested in seeing, that they would want to go and see, {yootooltip title=[ that would compel them ]} that would compel them - que os motivasse {/yootooltip} to go into a theater and see it and something completely different.

And he continued the story:

They decided to get together and create something and I don’t think they knew exactly what they wanted to do entirely. I think it was Chris who had, since his {yootooltip title=[childhood]} childhood - infância {/yootooltip}, had sort of the idea of this Blue Man character in his head. And they decided to stage sort of a... {yootooltip title=[ I guess you would call it ]} I guess you would call it - poderia-se chamar {/yootooltip} a “‘60s-style happening” around the city. They would just kind of go around and paint themselves blue and sort of do these little {yootooltip title=[ Vaudevillesque tricks ]} Vaudevillesque tricks - apresentações que combinam pantomima, dança e atuações performáticas {/yootooltip} anywhere that they could find, either in a small theater space, or outside of a theater, or anywhere a group of people might be, they might go to Central Park and do this. And from there {yootooltip title=[ it kind of grew ]} it kind of grew - e a partir dali isso meio que cresceu {/yootooltip} and they added a few more people and they started holding these kind of {yootooltip title=[salon-style setting meetings]} salon-style setting meetings - reuniões ao estilo “fórum cultural” {/yootooltip}, where they talked about art and they talked about their dissatisfaction with art perhaps, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like about and out of it some of the ideas for the show as it is now started to grow.

We then asked Mark Dahlen what sort of artist made a good “Blue Man.” He said that the key quality was a “{yootooltip title=[ child-like ]} child-like - infantil {/yootooltip} innocence”:

Michael Dahlen:

On top of that this person needs to be a very good actor because it’s not just enough to paint yourself blue, it is a sort of Vaudeville acting style that requires a lot of very good comic timing, a lot of very good physical story-telling, a really strong sense of your physical self and how you move in space, but the main characteristic is that sort of child-like joy. If you’ve ever looked at children, {yootooltip title=[ they sort of just naturally exude this sense of wonder ]} they sort of just naturally exude this sense of wonder - emanam esse senso de deslumbramento {/yootooltip} about the world around them that I think we sort of get... {yootooltip title=[ gets filtered out over time as we grow ]} gets filtered out over time as we grow - vai sendo retirado enquanto crescemos {/yootooltip} and become adults, and we have to put on this sort of social mask {yootooltip title=[to kind of get through life]} to kind of get through life - para enfrentar a vida {/yootooltip}. We’re looking for people that can kind of break through that a little bit and that’s sort of really the idea of the blue make-up: it’s not putting on a mask, it’s, actually, the idea is – and this is kind of conceptual, obviously – but the idea is that we are removing a social mask and revealing this character that, we think, lives in all of us.

Today the “Blue Man Group” (BMG) plays permanently in five American cities, as well as in Tokyo and Berlin. In fact there are now several “Blue Men Groups.“ Each one consists of three actors (who don’t speak: they mime and play musical instruments). According to “Blue Man” Michael Dahlen (see interview), 12 million people have now seen this remarkable show.

The Blue Men {yootooltip title=[ have certainly come a long way ]} have certainly come a long way - seguramente já percorreram um longo caminho {/yootooltip} since the late 1980s when they were founded in New York (where else?) by three artists: Matt Goldman, Chris Wink and Phil Stanton. Dahlen says that the trio chose blue “because it’s a translucent color that represents mystery and coolness. They were also great fans of the work of Yves Klein.” Klein was a French artist who painted {yootooltip title=[blue-only canvases]} blue-only canvases - telas exclusivamente em azul {/yootooltip}. Sadly, he died in 1962, at the age of 34, but clearly his spirit lives on...

{yoogallery src=[images/stories/galery/materias/ed278/blue] thumb=[polaroid]}

Answer these questions after reading Blue Magic.