Performing Arts department’s

For 12 years, Isaac Eddy looked from a stage at audiences worldwide that could identify him by little more than his expressive eyes. From behind a head covered in blue paint, he performed as a member of the entertainment company, Blue Man Group. As a recent addition to the Johnson State College theater department, he brings his wide eyes and open-minded personality to the classroom, with less paint and as the character of visiting assistant professor.

Eddy grew up in Vermont, citing Randolph as where he spent the first 13 years of his life before moving into an old house on a dirt road in Braintree. In this small town area is where he would put on little dance performances for his parents and brother at a young age, dating his interest in performing to his earliest years of life. However, Eddy’s passion back then used to be connecting with others in a different kind of way.

“I wanted to be an obstetrician by day, and I wanted to be a mime, a street mime, at night,” Eddy said. “So there you have it. I was really interested in being a doctor when I was a kid, and I think primarily because my doctor—the guy that was my moms obstetrician—he was kind of like my hero growing up. I really, really loved him and just the doctors in my community in Randolph were really amazing people. Just that idea of helping people and being there was really important.”

Eddy believes in the power of forming a connection with another person as having a powerful impact, and therefore being a way of fulfilling his doctor dream in another form. “For me,” he said, “as with I feel like for most people in theater, it’s not about being celebrated by being in the spotlight. It’s about making connections, making human connections and recognizing the nuance, and the complexity and the kind of paradox of the human experience…there’s something very special about exploring that connection live, with an audience. Making that connection is kind of my version of doctoring.”

His own connection with the woods of Vermont is one that Eddy believes to have helped him develop openness and confidence while growing up. Though he says that he stayed current with pop culture, he didn’t have a television and therefore spent a lot of time outside with a friend or alone, like many other children from rural areas. “The time that children from Vermont and rural New England spend outside helps them to form their own worldviews and opinions,” Eddy says. “We don’t necessarily have the same kind of cultural view of the world as maybe a kid in New York City or something, but what we do have is a self confidence that we can create our own perspectives. We don’t have to be told what to think about stuff because a lot of us spent a lot of time alone in the woods, and so I feel that was of real value for me to have that as a childhood.” Eddy recalls having a wonderful feeling of openness, that anything is possible in the Vermont kind of way; where there is “nothing to do.”

“A lot changed for me when I left the state, in terms of understanding who I was and understanding my role in the world,” said Eddy, who left Vermont to study film at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. From there he moved to Los Angeles, then New York to train for Blue Man Group, where he lived for seven years in Brooklyn.

“It was there where I really realized just how important diversity is on all levels,” said Eddy, “and how important that it is for me to understand who I am and my place in society, and the concept of white privilege and what that means. It was there that I realized how many different ways I was privileged coming from a beautiful state like Vermont, in a way that I didn’t think of when I was younger. I didn’t think of myself as ‘privileged.’”

Because of this privilege, Eddy says that he has a duty to talk about certain things and present himself accordingly. This includes in the classroom, where he incorporates diversity through critical theory and looking at topics such as literature through different perspectives. “It’s very important to teach and direct plays and talk about art that is not necessarily made by heterosexual white men,” he said. “That’s a really important key to diversity.”

That idea of being open and also of not being quick to judge others is one that Eddy would like to transfer directly from his Blue Man character to his young daughter. “One concept with Blue Man is this open innocence, and just being open for everything and all possibilities and not necessarily have judgment be an initial response,” he said. “That, I think is a great thing for a child to learn.”

Since the Blue Men communicate non-verbally, Eddy also recognizes the power in not speaking, and just taking the time to listen. That’s not to say that he doesn’t want his daughter to speak—he simply wants her to be able to recognize that incredible learning opportunities come when you take the time to step back and listen.

Eddy hopes to utilize this listening skill that he enhanced while part of the Group inside of his classroom, also. “A huge, huge element of the personality is listening,” he said, “and an acute awareness of others…I need to have confidence in my own knowledge in what I am bringing to be able to teach, but I think just as important is this openness to have an exchange, to see what the students can teach me and each other and have that be the classroom, have that be the rehearsal space. We are all equal parts committing to this one single thing of learning and experiencing and collaborating and that’s definitely something that I learned from the character.”

Throughout the school year and he hopes afterwards, Eddy will continue with his professor character: wide-eyed, an open mind and heart – energetic, amped and excited.