BWW Interviews: BRIAN TAVENER, North Carolina Native Talks BLUE MAN GROUP
Brian Tavener is a member of BLUE MAN GROUP, known for their theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. BLUE MAN GROUP will be at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, April 15-20. Tickets are on sale at Blumenthal Performing Arts Box Office: 704-372-1000 and BlumenthalArts.org.
It was 10AM when I spoke to Brian Tavener. He was enthusiastic and passionate about what he as Left, Center or Right brings to BLUE MAN GROUP.
LAW: Where are you now?
BT: We got into Indianapolis at 4AM.
LAW: Are you traveling on a tour bus?
BT: Yes with 24 of the cast and crew.
LAW: Do you consider yourself as a musician or a performer?
BT: Both.... I'm a performer over acting.
LAW: How long have you been performing?
BT: I've been with BLUE MAN GROUP more than 6 years. Before that, I was in a band, Glory Dive and Taylor Roberts and we would play at the Evening Muse in Charlotte. We played with hand drums, electric violin and an acoustic guitar.
LAW: Were you always interested in music?
BT: Yes, I've always had an interest in music. I remember being about 5 years-old and putting "The Sound of Music" 8 track on and banging away on the piano. I don't know what it really sounded like, but I thought it sounded great. I think music is ingrained in our human nature. We can hear our heart beat and music has a beat.
LAW: What was your first professional job?
BT: My first job?.... I was a caddy in Asheville, NC in my sophomore year in high school.
LAW: How did you get this role?
BT: After seeing BLUE MAN GROUP in Raleigh, I auditioned.
LAW: What was the audition like?
BT: It was extremely fun and a rare opportunity. It was a long process that took me to Los Angeles and New York. After auditioning, they trained me in New York. I performed with the show before they cast me for the role.
LAW: What was your most memorable experience doing this show?
BT: Memorable?.... In Boston, there was a woman in the audience with a monkey hand puppet. She related to my character through her hand puppet. That was the most memorable.
LAW: Tell me about the character you play.
BT: I play Left, Center and Right. We change it up. They are innocents, other worldly beings. They are very sophisticated clowns, children, who follow their bliss. There are no limits and they don't know right from wrong.
LAW: Tell me about an average day for you while you're on tour.
BT: I keep my day pretty open to explore the cities I visit and to find great restaurants. I read and I'm learning Italian online. Most people who work a 9-5 are energized in the morning, my adrenaline peaks at 8 at night.
LAW: What's the worst experience you've had on the road?
BT: I tend to forget bad experiences, but food poisoning is one that I remember. And sometimes we have a 10-hour road trip on the bus.
LAW: What is the blue makeup? Greasepaint?
BT: Yes, it's made by a company called Mehron. After I take the makeup off, I have remnents of blue on me for days.
LAW: Tell me about the paint on the drums.
BT: It's an iconic image. It brings an artistic, physical image to the music.
LAW: Do you find there is a difference in the audience reactions depending on the city you are performing in?
BT: In every show we engage the audience. Yes, audiences are different; we do the first show and feel out the vibes.
LAW: Why do you think this show has had such longevity?
BT: The Blue Man character is relevant at all times. There is a primal instinct, celebrating life and interacting with neighbors. It's a great show for all ages!