Professional clowns Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone taught students the ins and outs of theatre performance in their workshop
Air artists Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, the dynamic duo that make up Air Play, paid a visit to BYU as part of the BRAVO! Professional Performing Arts Series and led a workshop for theatre students. Bloom and Gelsone shared some helpful tips and tricks when pursuing a path in the dramatic arts and even displayed a bit of their airplay talent with the class.
The masterclass helped students gain a better understanding of the kind of life an artist pursuing this path might have, as well as how to reach this level of success. Student Jaycelin Eyre attended the workshop and said that she was able to get a better feel for all the little details that go into perfecting their abilities and performing to the audiences’ needs.
Bloom and Gelsone are unique in their specific approach to theatre, as they both define themselves as clowns. However, they have found their particular passion through different air-styled techniques, expressing their creativity within their work.
Eyre shared more of her experience.
“I have never really considered any side of acting aside from just scripted, or, regular acting, so for me it was cool to see,” she said. “It is a whole other genre. It was fascinating to learn about all the different aspects that go into it.”
Gelsone and Bloom advised students to make certain their performances pertain to the specific audience. They emphasized the importance of adapting to viewers, depending on the country and culture.
Bloom explained, “It wasn’t about ‘are we good or not.’ It’s about ‘is the work working?’”
One of the key factors that the couple taught was the importance of awareness; of sense of humor and the pace of the show. In their view the small details matter and other times larger movements are needed.
Eyre wants to personally incorporate her newly learned skills. “I think with the physical acting, [I need to be] more aware of my body on the stage and the impact that’s having. … [For instance,] how my breathing is saying something about who my character is. That’s gonna be a big deal for me,” said Eyre.
Bloom and Gelsone have experimented with a plethora of props for their sky-high endeavors. From cocktail umbrellas to cellophane strips to plastic bags, they have tried just about everything. “We like taking ordinary objects and making them extraordinary,” Gelsone said. They explained that rehearsals may be a frustrating process, trying an idea out only to reach a dead end. However, they understand the importance of hard work.
The clown couple have created their own spinoff from a more traditional acting career, even for clowns. Their pursuits in airplay have proven to be quite worth the effort in their eyes. They have performed together in 28 different countries with this being their 279th show.
“Although I may not go this route with my career, being aware [that] you can just put something together for yourself, even though there’s a lot that goes into it, you can still start something,” said Eyre.
Gelsone and Bloom have created a distinctive performance with their individualistic artistry. They love the aspect of personal interpretation within their work, allowing the audience to feel and view the production in their own way. “We think of this whole show more as a poem, rather than a book,” Bloom said.
The Air Play couple’s workshop offered a new way of looking at theatre. It reminded students, perhaps figuratively and quite literally, that the sky’s the limit.