Like for a play or a movie, you start with casting your main actors (teapot and tea cups). And, the best way to do so, is to test several with the tea you have in mind. Who says this line most convincingly? Which pot brews this particular tea the best? And in which cup does it look and then taste the best? It's quite fun to make such small tests when brewing tea more casually.
Then, you proceed with pairing your main accessories with the secondary ones and with the 'scenery', the setting you'll choose for your tea. A tea tray made of bamboo will give a very natural 'forest' look, for instance. Or you can use a Cha Bu, a tea mat, made of a particular color, pattern, depending on the tone, the feelings you wish to convey. Here, I used the black side of a Cha Bu with a small bamboo mat to integrate my tea set in nature.
The actual play is not just a repetition of previous plays. An actor has to relive his part each time. It's the same for the tea. You have to feel the tea as if you drank it for the first time again. Tea is so sensitive to details, each cup comes out a little different each time.
Using old, necessarily handmade, and therefore unique accessories brings a new aesthetic and time dimension to the Cha Xi. This hour of tea play is not just about getting the best flavors and tastes out of the leaves, but also satisfies a need of beauty. And, it can even make me time travel to imperial China!