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14.12.2018, 09:00

Blue Man Group in Kazan: weeble-wobble, “Ruki Vverkh” and “Eh, tala, tala” on PVC pipes

(KZN.RU, December 14, Alsu Safina). Bright splashes of colors, modern technologies, favorite Tatar songs “Bas, Kyzym Epipe” and “Oh, tala, tala”, performed on PVC pipes, and the modern world through the eyes of three bald blue heroes. Spoiled by various events and views, Kazan citizens have not seen such performance before. Moreover, they became a part of the world show Blue Man Group, which takes place in Kazan fr om December 12 to 15, for an hour and a half, and were able to experience the whole range of emotions and look at familiar things in a new way.

The Blue Man Group show was first shown in America back in 1991. During this time more than 35 million people around the world have been able to see it. However, it is in Russia for the first time. Along with Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg, Kazan was among the cities the Blue Man visit. Zoe Caldwell, the tour manager of the Blue Man Group show, in an interview on the eve of the evening show in Kazan, noted that although there had been offers to perform in Russia earlier, such an opportunity appeared only last year when Blue Man Group became part of Cirque du Soleil.

The “Tatneft-Arena”, which has already hosted the performances of Cirque du Soleil, was chosen as the venue for the show in Kazan. “The show was created for very small spaces. Even though there are significantly more spectators at the “Tatneft Arena”, you can feel the chamber atmosphere. It’s more like a theater – everything that is not part of the show is covered with black cloth. The blue seats are perfect!” noted Zoe Caldwell, smiling. All decorations and equipment are transported in eight containers, and preparation for the show takes 2 days.

The premiere of the show was held in Kazan on December 12 and was well-received. According to one of the artists Bernard Felix Haas, also known as Barney, this was one of the best premiere shows on the current tour.

In the second evening, the main audience of the show were orphans, disabled people and children without parental care. “Each of our shows is special, unlike the previous one. It is interactive, and we never know what will happen. We know that today there will be many children in the hall. I think it will be an incredible, crazy energy”, Barney Haas said during an interview. And he was right. From the very first minutes, children watched with interest the adventures of the Blue Men, how they experiment with colors, master smartphones, try popcorn for the first time, catch a marshmallow with the mouth.

Barney Haas had to learn all these unusual new skills in a short time 6 years ago. Before joining the show in 2012, he studied cinematography, took acting lessons, attended theater master classes, and studied physical theater. Still, at first, he had to work hard to become a real Blue Man. “It was very hard, a lot of preparatory work has been done”, said the captain of the Blue Men. “It was necessary to study new instruments that do not exist in the world, for example, to learn to play PVC pipes, giant drums, paint drums, toss and hold up to 40 marshmallows in your mouth! I have never done this before! It is not easy, but still fun! Blue Man Group is a kind of challenge and an opportunity to learn something new, I like it. In addition, I get to see the whole world with this show”.

Now there are 8 shows all over the world at the same time. The stationary Blue Man Group shows can be seen in New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Orlando, and Berlin. In addition to them, there are two tour shows Blue Man Group World Tour. The organization of the show all over the world is provided by about 1 thousand people, 27 people are involved in the tour in Russia.

The show is constantly changing, in every city and every country the organizers are trying to include elements and details in the program that are close to the audience.

For example, on a show in Kazan, a weeble-wobble appeared in the hands of one of the heroes. A toy that, perhaps, almost all Soviet children once had. Or suddenly, the song “My Baby” by the band “Ruki Vverkh” sounded on the radio. One of the surprises was the melodies of two favorite Tatar songs “Bas, Kyzym Epipe” and “Oh, tala, tala”, which the Blue Men performed on PVC pipes. By the way, the Blue Men are supported by a group of four musicians during the performance.

The audience wonders: who the Blue Men are? The characters of the show have an unusual appearance, they do not talk. At the same time, they communicate with the audience quite easily through music, facial expressions, gestures, and colors. “The Blue men have come to our world to explore, understand how people interact with each other, and communicate with them in universal ways”, explains Barney Haas. “They combine the features of an innocent child, a hero, a scientist who studies everything in detail, and even a shaman, because characters travel through worlds and enter another reality”.

In the tour, the images of the Blue Men along with Barney Haas embodied Vinicius Masteguime and David McLaughlin. There are about 60-70 people in the world, who can turn into in the Blue Men. Due to external similarity, these unusual characters are often compared in Russia with Fantomas, the villain from the French trilogy about the adventures of Commissioner Juve. As Barney Haas admitted, he did not see the Fantomas movie, but the Blue Men often heard about him in our country. However, apart from the external similarity, these characters have no similarities, believes the actor. Because the Blue Men are not at all evil, on the contrary, they are positive characters.

As it turned out, it’s not that easy to become the Blue Man. “Preparation is a long process. It is a kind of transformation, we get together, slowly abstracting from everyday life, to forget who we are. Psychologically, it’s as if you are taking one layer after another layer to become cleaner, to get used to the role”, told Barney Haas. “We begin to prepare for the show in three hours at least, to play the instruments, to check. Only applying make-up takes 1 hour. In general, it never ends, you always find blue in you even the next day”. The shade of blue for makeup was created specifically for the Blue Man Group and was named “Blue man blue”, and according to the consistency, it resembles Nutella chocolate paste, said to Barney Haas.

Joy, delight, shock, admiration – these and not only emotions that the audience experience in 90 minutes. The culmination of the whole event is the show’s final when not only small spectators but also adults can play and feel free, join the holiday.

Kazan spectators gradually join the army of Blue Men fans. They gladly took pictures after the show with the actors. Barney Haas said that the show has fans who get together once a year. “I admire them, sometimes they show tickets for all the shows they have visited. One of them saw 300 shows!” said Barney Haas. “One fan of the show from Holland began to create his instruments at home”. You can meet imitators of Blue Men in the USA and in Halloween. Americans sometimes try on the images of these bright characters.

After Kazan, the Russian tour of the show will continue in Yekaterinburg, wh ere the actors and the whole team will meet Catholic Christmas. “We are planning to organize a holiday. Some of us travel together with their partners. We will play Secret Santa”, said Zoe Caldwell. “It is good when there are traditions in the show and beyond, because when we are on tour, we are like a family. It is always great to get together not only for work, but also for celebration. Christmas is a special time. As for the show, we will probably include musical motifs in it that are associated with Christmas or New Year”.

Photo report
The Blue Man Group Show in Kazan
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