Once I had conceptualised Re:play, I spent a lot of time reading up resource material on the games through a variety of sources. Given that almost all traditional games have been passed on through generations, I came across multiple versions of the same games. In fact, the same game is played in different ways and called different names across the country. This is also what made my research interesting. From finding out mythological connections and stories to games being relevant in today's 21st century, there was a lot to learn from.
From the very beginning, I had the support of Manasi Subramaniam as a dramaturg and writer. We would try and orchestrate material in a way that it became interesting from a point of view of performance. I would also take in some of this material to the studio, work with collaborators and explore possibilities.
Once we had a structure in place, we then contacted Kreeda Games, a company dedicated to the promotion of traditional games and sought their support from a research point of view. Through the support of Kreeda, one of the most significant things we discovered were personal stories of people who have played these games through time. Research with Kreeda is still ongoing, for further development of the show.
The C.P.Ramaswami Aiyar foundation promotes traditional and folk arts. They had published a book called Traditional folk games of Tamilnadu. I contacted the author of the book, Prof. V Balambal who was ever willing to support this initiative. In my meetings and conversations with her, I gained a lot of insights, which have helped shape this performance.
Research has always been the foundation to performance. Re:play is a highly research intensive process. Transforming research content to performative action has been the most enjoyable process over the last 6 months, apart from the fact that I pester people to tell me about all the traditional Indian games that they have played over the years.
Re:play premieres on the 19, 20 and 21 of September at the C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation(Alwarpet), followed by a public showcasing on the 28 and 29 of September at Spaces (Besant Nagar) in Chennai. Both performances are only on a registration basis, the details of which we will put up next week. The performance will also tour Bangalore and Hyderabad over October and November. Looking forward to Re:play times.
- Aruna Ganesh Ram