‘Air Play’ at The New Victory Theater

A high-powered floor fan. A 20 foot long bolt of silk. A juggler. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Include these ingredients and spice it up with humor and physical comedy and what have you got? A lawsuit. No. “Air Play” now though March 5th at the New Victory Theater in NYC and then on continuing tour.
Not one but twenty floor fans in a circle propelling two bolts, one red and one yellow high into a swirling dance like a DNA double helix. It is a captivating opening. Afterwards they bring the show down to earth.
A hand-held snow blower. A balloon. These are the elements that they use to force air and wind around and around and manipulate objects and people to their bidding. They bring two audience members on stage and give each a butterfly net. Who can catch more balloons as they go around and around and up and down? Whatever the outcome, the laughs are guaranteed.
“Airplay” is presented by Acrobuffos, the team of Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone. Christina was a classically trained ballerina and Princeton graduate majoring in Shakespeare, before she learned acrobatics and followed her love of humor in the direction of physical comedy. She also studied at the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater.
Seth attended IJA festivals and performed for a year with Lazer Vaudeville. He learned and taught clowning around the world. He trained in the Locoq technique and received an MFA in London. He graduated Ringling Brothers Clown College and co-founded Split Knuckle Theater.
They met while performing in Afghanistan in 2003 and teamed up as a duo. They later married in Hangzhou, China in 2008 and now live in their Manhattan apartment decorated with framed pictures of Seth’s world photography. They have performed several different shows in over 25 countries on five continents including having been featured in the Big Apple Circus.
Having a show that has almost no speaking parts and relies on visually stunning effects and comedy makes it easy to take the show on the road.
“It helps that everyone around the world loves to laugh”, says Tina. Seth agrees, “Story telling traditions are different all over the world. But everyone has had a childhood. ‘Air Play’ works as well in China and Chile as it does in Australia and Canada. We wanted to make a universal story.”
The balloon is driven about by the snow blower. A bigger balloon is tossed into the audience to bounce off their hands and heads. An even bigger balloon appears on stage and a 2nd balloon and our pals get inside them and dare to act ridiculous. They’re not concerned with convention. They scoff at protocol. Loosen your bow tie and snicker and guffaw.
A tornado of Styrofoam packing beads. A vortex of umbrellas. The power of air meets the force of humor. And team work. The invisible partner is Daniel Wurtzel who helped create Amaluna for Cirque du Soleil. Brooklyn boy Daniel is the “Kinetic Sculptor” who conceives the massive shapes and shadows and brings them to life. His art installations have been exhibited in Paris, Washington DC, and many others.
The show’s director is West Hyler who directed the Big Apple Circus twice and was story writer for Cirque du Soleil Paramour.
And it all comes together and makes beauty and nonsense when Seth and Tina grasp the corners of a fifty foot translucent bolt that takes the shape of a giant Sea Wasp that floats and swims above the stage and is jet propelled with wind, helium, and audience gasps.
‘Airplay’ is on tour continuing to Alaska, Maryland, and more.

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Raphael Harris was the proprietor of the Jerusalem Circus School for Children for over ten years. He has performed "Sir Juggley's One Man Circus" over a thousand times. He appeared in the Guiness Book of World Records twice and the Record Setters Book of World Records three times. He lives in New York.

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