Searching for Human Connection with the Blue Man Group
// Photo courtesy of Blue Man Group
It’s Saturday night. It’s a bit frigid out, and you’re jaded from a long week of work. So, where else would you be than at a Blue Man Group show? Unsure of my exact response to that, I made my way to the Charles Playhouse to answer this question with full journalistic integrity.
Hoping for the ultimate shock value, I kept my pre-show knowledge on the Blue Man Group as limited as possible. When mentioning my plans, someone told me, “You haven’t been to Boston until you’ve seen the Blue Man Group!” Someone else told me, “You haven’t been to Chicago until you’ve seen the Blue Man Group!” I anticipate a complete cultural immersion. The website boasts: “BLUE MAN GROUP performances are euphoric celebrations of human connection through art, music, comedy and non-verbal communication. Since the Blue Men don't speak, BLUE MAN GROUP transcends language barriers and is universally appealing to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds.” Hm. I’m starting to wonder if the Blue Man Group is really the pinnacle of the American entertainment experience. Maybe, after tonight, I’ll finally find my voice in my English seminar. Maybe I’ll take up a culture column for the Crimson.
When I find my seat, I notice that everyone sitting in front of me is wearing a rain poncho. So, I deduce, there will be sprayage of some sort. I rule out spit. I know enough about these Blue Men to know they don’t sing, or talk. The paint all over the walls gives me the clue I need. Well, I’m wearing my best green sweater and hoping I’m out of the line of fire.
The pre-show announcement reminds the audience that the show is interactive. In my Ec 50 lecture, interactive means I scan a QR code once every two weeks. What could this mean for tonight? Am I prepared to become a Blue Man?
The lights go down. Illuminated as silhouettes, the three figures appear on stage. I’ll try my best to recount what happened in the next hour and a half. I promise, this is all true.
The first act is what I expected. There is drumming. There is paint. There is superb comedic timing. Then, things get a bit weird. One of the Blue Men catches (I’m not kidding) probably 40 marshmallows in his mouth from a 25-foot distance. The other catches paintballs and spits them onto a canvas. The third throws these marshmallows into the audience's mouths. I wonder if they taste like blue paint.
The Blue Men come into the audience. One sits in the empty seat next to me. We lock eyes, and a shiver runs down my spine. I feel like I’ve just seen a biblically accurate angel. They return to the stage with two participants. One is visibly shaken up, as expected. They are given gifts by the Blue Men, perform in a mock wedding, and return to mortified teenage daughters.
The Blue Men drum some more. Another audience member puts on coveralls and turns into a human canvas. Captain Crunch falls from the sky and each of them finishes a box. At the end, confetti and neon streamers fall from the sky. One woman next to me records a selfie video as if she is in New York’s hottest club. “Oh, were you at Le Bain last night? I saw your Instagram story.” “No, actually, that was the Blue Man Group.”
The show ends, and all I can think about is the resumé required to become a Blue Man. No, not for myself. For my investigative mission.
Behind all the theatrics of the evening, I really do see how this performance could be taken as a “celebration of human connection.” There is a vague criticism of technology and surveillance, including a few anti-cell phone, anti-social media segments in the show. But more endearing is the focus on bringing people out of their comfort zones and away from the fear of judgment. At one point, the Blue Men get everyone in the audience out of their seats to dance together. It’s clear that the middle-aged men picked from the audience haven’t felt so alive since their high school football championship. And the strangeness of the Blue Men is jarring enough to remind everyone of their own free will. As founder Matt Goldman recalls, “The first time we got bald and blue, we knew instantly it was something very special.” Although the naturally bald and emotionally blue men in my life might not feel the same, it’s clear that the performance creates something special. I can’t think of the last time I left a theater with so many questions.
So, if you’re in need of seeing something completely out of the ordinary, then give the Blue Man Group a try. I can’t say you’ll be pleased, but you’ll definitely have felt something.
// Molly Egan ’26 is a staff writer for Record Hospital.