Acrobuffos: Air Play

The only thing more interesting than Acrobuffos' lives is their theatre.

The Acrobuffos comedic duo of Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone have performed in 18 countries, and teach social circus in post-conflict zones. They incorporate acrobatics, clowning, juggling, mask theatre, and Seth’s special skill of shooting five streams of water through his teeth. When they married in Hangzhou, China, in 2007, Christina wore a dress of white balloons. Here they talk about bringing their show Air Play to Beijing.

How did you both get started in acrobatics?

Seth started off as a juggler and Christina as a ballerina. We both wanted to make people laugh so we each trained in clowning and physical theatre schools. Seth went to three clown schools, and Christina went to Princeton.

How did you then meet and team up?

We met in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003. Christina was performing in refugee camps and Seth was creating a circus for adults and kids. Later, we starting performing together and fell in love along the way. We were engaged while working in Edinburgh, Scotland, and married during a comedy festival in Hangzhou, China. We’ve performed in China nine different times and are excited to bring our new show Air Play!

What was the inspiration for Air Play?

We wanted to create a show that was both beautiful and funny, and could be enjoyed everywhere in the world. We collaborated with an artist (Daniel Wurtzel) who makes gorgeous, moving sculptures with air. We put our comedy and his art together in a show to make a breathtaking new theatrical style.

Can you give us a rundown of the story of Air Play? Two children enter a fantasy world—are there any more details you can share?

For us, Air Play is a beautiful visual poem (without words!) about childhood and friendship. The story you see depends on your own imagination. We love talking to people after the show and hearing about what they experience. The characters float giant fabrics over the audience, climb into huge balloons, battle with umbrellas that fly fifty feet in the air, and play inside an enormous snow globe.

What is the hardest thing about putting on a show like Air Play? The easiest thing?

We work with air, and every theater has its own air currents that affect the show, so we never know what’s going to happen. At every moment something could go wrong and we have to improvise to save the show. We don’t know if there is an easiest thing, but the best thing is hearing the laughter from audiences around the world. Sometimes, too, they cry because we touch their hearts.