Editor’s Note: Phil Stanton is co-founder of Blue Man Group, known world-wide for their theatrical shows and concerts featuring popular music, comedy and multimedia. Be sure to check out CNN The Next List’s profile on Blue School this Sunday at 2pm E.T.
By Phil Stanton, Special to CNN
Why do you think the Blue Man seems to resonate with so many people?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get, and the one that, for us as artists, may be the most difficult to answer. An intelligible answer requires putting aside the bald and blue character for a moment, and returning to the impulses that gave birth to that character and essentially led to all of our work.
Of the myriad factors influencing the genesis of Blue Man Group and our journey as artists and performers, one of most seminal was our decision to write from our own perspective as audience members. We had faith that if came up with the kind of work WE would like to see, others might like it too. We then looked within to try to define what basic elements (beyond the need for food, water and shelter) we thought should be in place in order for US to feel we were living fully human lives. There was something important about being mindful of what we all commonly call “life force”, and the ability to experience and celebrate the energy and animating forces that surround us. We agreed that a sense of curiosity and the joy of exploration were critical to feeling human and truly alive. We also thought there was something crucial about humor and the ability to laugh. Finally, the desire to feel part of a community and experience connection was essential. While we do not claim to be psychologists or anthropologists, we felt intuitively that the desire for these human “needs” might resonate with others.
These four human aspirations eventually became the pillars (we refer to them as “creative impulses”) that infuse all of our work.
We joke that as long as we lump these motives into a ball of “impulse-goo” and squeeze it tightly in hand, something worthwhile is sure to extrude from between the fingers. There is a lot of truth in this. We feel that the same impulses can give birth to a great variety of work, INCLUDING a school and a bald and blue character. But we feel that if anything resonates about our work, it’s that at the core it is a celebration of connection, playfulness, curiosity and life force.