‘Air Play’ takes Chico’s breath away


Florence Montmare

Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone watch balloons float in a simulated night sky. Photo by Florence Montmare.

A fresh breath of air, quite literally, took to the stage at Laxson Auditorium.

Clown couple, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, invited audience members into their make-believe alternate reality designed specifically for laughter and imagination in their stunning show, “Air Play”. Acting as a young pair of siblings, the two explored a land of air where ordinary objects came alive in both beautiful and simplistic ways.

Harnessing the technology of aerodynamics, the duo manipulated huge sheets of fabric to simulate a colorful, sometimes tear-jerking, waltz in the air above the stage and the audience. Balloons transformed from party decorations to creatures with minds of their own, and confetti, glitter and packing peanuts simulated an eerily realistic night sky.

The stage set up consisted of a large circle of fans blowing upward, the key to the magic of their stunts and performances.

“We worked with an air sculptor because we like doing physical comedy,” said Seth Bloom of the duo. “We wanted to collaborate with a kinetic artist. This guy came up with this beautiful circle of fans and also those fabrics you saw throughout the show that were swirling around. We tried to find a way to put our two art forms together.”

The performers watch packing peanuts rain down upon them. Photo by Florence Montmare.

Air tricks and giant balloons weren’t the only components to the show. Both Bloom and Gelsone entertained the audience with their contagious energy and childlike fun. The two would often run around and tease the crowd with their many balloons and pull up volunteers to engage in games and shenanigans on stage.

It’s almost guaranteed there was not one single person in the auditorium who did not belly laugh, or at least let out a giggle while watching the 60-minute show. Near the end, Bloom and Gelsone climbed into their giant yellow and red balloons and hopped around with only their heads poking out.

The clown pair jump around in balloon suits. Photo by Florence Montmare.

It was clear that every move, stunt and joke had been practiced and tweaked to perfection.

“Air Play is the end result of five years of experimentation,” said Bloom.

Bloom and Gelsone are the writers, creators and actors in their show. The couple met at a circus in Afghanistan and have collectively worked and performed in over 48 countries. Together, they’ve created five shows together and have been touring the world with their newest masterpiece “Air Play” since 2015.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.