While Aruna Ganeshram was pursuing her masters at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, an article in a paper caught her attention. It was about the 'games that people played as children.' It got her thinking about the changes that those games have undergone with the advent of technology. She pondered over it for a while, before deciding to represent her thoughts in a dramatic representation. Re:Play, is an immersive (interactive theatre) duet performance that will premiere in the city.
“As children, we loved playing Lagori (seven tiles), Kabadi, Goli and other such games. The article I was reading spoke of these games in past tense, and that got me thinking. Further on, I came across a mobile app that allowed the user to play Ludo on phone. The fact that such conventional games had taken a turn towards modernisation was the motivation behind this play," she says. Aruna has carefully directed her actors, Ujwal Nair and Supraja Narayan, to coax the viewer into participating as they perform. “When Aruna told us what we had to do, I was extremely skeptical of involving the audience in my performance. However, I have come to realise that there is no greater joy than getting an immediate feedback from your viewers," says Ujwal.
Here is an example of what you can expect from them - Remember hopscotch? During the play, the audience will have to throw a pebble into the box, unless they do that, the play cannot proceed.
The performance is an enchanting experience of sounds, rhythms, patterns, structures and colours. Now settled in Singapore, Aruna reveals that the play is a combination of rehearsed and improvised theatre.
Incidentally, it was first staged in London followed by performances in Chennai. Supraja, a 21-year-old bubbly actor who was a part of the Chennai production says, “There was no script for us to work with. The play was devised by all of us together."
Speaking of the theatre troupe, Visual Respiration, which is based out of Singapore and India, Aruna explains, “We design performances that are visual and visually-led." Their previous show, also called Visual Respiration was based on the connection between the digital and human world. It was inspired by photographs by Bengaluru-based shutterbug Manvi Gangotra, who has now designed the costumes for Re:play.
The play is being held this weekend at Atta Galatta in Koramangala....