Blue Man Group Turned the Arsht Into a Raucous Party
By now, the Blue Man Group has become a reliable brand, much like Cirque du Soleil and its various offshoots. Like Cirque and its ilk, the Blue Man Group has yet to grow tiresome or overindulgent, even in spite of the constant exposure. Somehow, the sight of these oddly endearing blue-skinned beings never fails to fascinate, and though the premise may seem well trod, the simple quirks and innocent-yet-knowing personalities these blue beings bring still manages to evoke a charming childlike appeal.
Photos by Paul Kolnik
Opening night of the Blue Man Group's all-too-brief visit to the Arsht was a perfect example of how familiarity is yet to breed contempt. From the opening pre-show pep rally -- instigated by a series of smart-ass comments scrolled on screens flanking either side of the stage -- to the tumultuous, all-out, anything-goes finale that includes giant helium balloons and streams of confetti (made from recycled paper, it's duly noted), the Blue Men brought with them a non-stop display of manic mayhem and relentless revelry. Yes, it was unlike anything one might otherwise experience in the Arsht's hallowed halls, but only the most staid and solemn patron could fail to appreciate the playfulness of the proceedings.
To be sure, audience involvement was all but ensured. The trio roamed through the theater frequently, climbing on the seats, walking up and down the aisles, peering at audience members with strange, befuddled expressions. A couple of late comers were captured on camcorders as they were escorted inside, bringing the performance to a halt as a chorus of "You're late, you're late" was played over the speakers for the crowd's amusement. Later, two people were plucked out of the audience and compelled to join the group onstage. The first, a genial grandmotherly type, seemed somewhat reluctant (naturally!) as the Blue Men gingerly walked her up the aisle and persuaded her to join them as they snacked on Twinkies, precisely parcelled as if for a feast. Naturally, all communication was non-verbal -- the group dispenses with dialogue in favor of spontaneity -- but it didn't take long for this volunteer to follow her hosts' lead and exhibit her bemused obedience. A second "volunteer," an only slightly more enthused young man, was taken backstage where, as the audience watched via closed circuit TV, he was slathered with pink and blue paint, cast upside down like a carcass and then swung into a blank canvass to demonstrate an abstract form of body art. It was weird, but improbably amusing.