Two Worlds Collide In One Entertaining Weekend

My cousin Claire once told us that she aspires to be like us one day because we seem to have so much fun. Well if that’s true, then this past weekend would have totally blown her mind because we attended two completely different shows on consecutive nights that were as vastly different as haggis and ice cream. 

On Friday night, we went to see Blue Man Group at the Providence Performing Arts Center. When I got the tickets, I asked one of my coworkers, Nancy, how I was going to describe this show to Heather, because I was pretty sure she hadn’t heard of it. “Performance art” is the thing that came most readily to mind, because although they play music, it’s not really a concert. And even though they’re funny, it’s not really a comedy act. So was “performance art” even the right word?

When I called Heather and asked her if she’d go, she didn’t ask me what the show was about, but she did agree to give it a try if I had my heart set on going. Once in the theatre though, I could tell she was on sensory overload. Three guys painted blue who don’t talk, don’t sing, and play pipes like they are a xylophone/drum kit are at best ‘unusual,’ but would my beloved call it art?

As we sat there in the technicolor glow of the show, with its dance club grooves and Studio 54-worthy light show, I knew she’d have something to say afterward. “That was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen,” she said as we left the theater. “Why did you like it?”

For me, it wasn’t about what you actually saw on stage. It was about how you saw it. If you pretend that the Blue Men are aliens inspecting our planet for the first time, you might get a sense of the show. These guys’ brilliance is evident in what they don’t say. Yes, they’re surreal, funny and musical. But the way they approach each object they interact with is new, even though the objects themselves are ordinary. “They teach us to embrace the wonder and mystery we lose along the way,” I explained. “That’s why I liked the show. They break down the constraints we build over time and look at everything with fresh eyes. We forget to do that.”

My explanation seemed to resonate with her, but like with contemporary art, she said, “everyone sees something different.”

The following night we went to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, also in Providence, to see Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus Live! It is a one-man show starring comic John Frusciante that is based on the classic book about relationships by Dr. John Gray.

I knew Heather would love this one because it was based in psychology, and it makes couples examine their different roles in the relationship and how they interact with one another. (To see my review of the show, click here.) Since Heather’s a big fan of all things psychology, I knew this would be up her alley.

My morning show hosts had interviewed Frusciante on air a couple weeks back and he was hilarious, so I knew the show would be funny. What I wasn’t prepared for was the crowd reaction.

Everywhere you looked in the theater there were couples of all different demographics. But the one thing that seemed universal was that one person in each couple probably got dragged to the show. I could just hear the conversations pre-show as one partner turned to her mate and said, “If you love me, you’ll go to this show.” It’s just the way it works.

That’s why it was pretty evident who wanted to go to the show or not. As Frusciante talked about sex, dating, marriage and more, you could tell who knew they had something to work on because they were squirming in their seats. As the comic talked about the differences between the sexes, it was funny, and Heather and I laughed a ton. But there were others there who simply wanted to be swallowed up by the furniture or knew they’d be having a “come to Jesus” moment after the show. Others simply left at half time.

Still, we walked out of the theater having learned a few things, such as how couples really keep score (women do it far differently than men), how good each gender is at multitasking (men are so inferior it isn’t even funny), or what makes men want to retreat to their cave at the end of a day while women want to hold a world peace summit. We could all relate, but did we all want to talk about it? That’s the question all the couples had as they left the show. Hopefully some learned from the stories shared through the humor.

All in all, it was a fun, albeit exhausting weekend. So guys, remember it is fun to get out now and then for the special date night with the wife. And if you try something brand new, you’ll never know what you might learn in the process, about your significant other or the Blue Men hiding in your closet.

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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