It’s evolved slightly throughout the years because it’s tough to find Blue Men. About half of us are professional musicians who learn the character, and the other half are professional actors who learn the music. The thing that’s hard is that the character is not the kind of character that a trained actor can immediately understand, and that’s why half of the Blue Men we have aren’t even trained actors. It’s a ‘clown’ character for all intents and purposes, which is a term that’s kind of misused now. For the character to be believable it has to tap into an honesty and a sense of self that a lot of times, actors are trained to get rid of. There are some people who can access that honesty in the character, and there are other people who are basically trained in all sorts of acting styles that can’t really access it.
The audition process is set up to see who can access that and who can’t. [It is also set-up to see] who can tell a story without using any words, but also without being melodramatic, and without over-acting. Just this kind of pared down simplicity, with not much physical movement, just able to express these simple, base emotions, just with your eyes basically.
The audition is half-character-work and half-music. You have to be able to get at least a decent part of the music. A lot of the training process is learning drumming, or learning the Blue Man style of drumming. If you don’t have that elemental understanding of drumming you can’t really get the gig. In the [acting portion of the] audition process there are these different techniques that have been taken from Meisner, and Grotowski, and from simple acting, and been tooled to specific Blue Man purposes. [In my audition] I was given this simple task, which is just, entering the room. It is an old, old clown exercise. You enter the room as a neutral character, just trying to be as pared down, and as honest as possible, just taking in the people in the room. Then you leave the room once you feel something has been exchanged between the two of you. This exchange can be something monumental like we discovered the meaning of life, or we cured some huge disease, or it can be very, very tiny, just a simple hello. Just an exchange of a greeting or something. Simply by doing a very pared down audition like that you can tell who is game for the complexity of the character and who isn’t really willing to go there.
Via Atlas Obscura