The Blue Man

gives the heads up on funky look

Just for kids

July 15, 1999|By Briana K., 11 | Briana K., 11,Chicago Tribune

The Blue Man Group theatrical show is performance art at its most magical. Robotic-looking guys splash paint, bang on metal, eat Twinkies and even videotape the inside of someone's throat. And the coolest part of the show may be the costume -- the performers' heads are painted blue. I recently watched performer Tom Galassi go through the one-hour transformation it takes to become a Blue Man. The process is called "getting bald and blue." Here's how it happens: First, Tom cleans his face with Sea Breeze astringent. If Tom's pores aren't clean, the glue he applies to his face won't stick. (Don't get any ideas -- the glue used is Prosaide Theatrical Glue, a thin adhesive that is not as harsh as regular glue.)

Tom applies glue to the front of his neck while Tam, the wardrobe director, applies two coats of glue to the back. Then Tom puts in ear plugs to help protect his ears from the noise. Blue Man performances are very loud. (Before the show, the audience is also offered ear plugs! )

The glue is now dry, so Tam and Tom cover his hair, ears and the back of his neck with a rubber bald cap. There are sweat holes in the cap, because on stage the performers become very hot.

Finally, they put on rubber gloves. Tam takes out shiny blue cake makeup, made especially for the group, and starts rubbing it on Tom's head. Tom puts makeup on his lips and in his nostrils. I bet a Blue Man is never free of blue!

To top off the costume, the performers wear a black bodysuit, black shorts, black socks, black pants, black shoes, two pairs of rubber gloves (one regular pair and one special blue pair) and a harness with a special tube device. (If you see the show you'll get it, but basically the tube squirts stuff.)

The performers never open their mouths during the show. Communicating only with their eyes, the actors must be familiar with each other and have great trust.

Tam is waiting off stage to do a quick touchup.

Why the color blue? "Oh, there are many reasons," Tom says. "The color green would be like aliens. Red is the color of a demon. But blue can't really be compared to anything."

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