Monday, March 16, 2009

Tiatr Academy is born!

Tiatr Academy is born!
Feb 21st, 2009 | Category: Tiatr

WHEN THE history of tiatrs is re-written, February 16, 2009 will be written in letters of gold since, on this day, a long cherished dream of the tiatrist fraternity finally became a reality with the formal inauguration of the Tiatr Academy of Goa (TAG) at the hands of senior dramatist 82-year-old Jose Lourenco Vaz, known in tiatr circles as Master Vaz. A packed audience, overflowing in the precincts of the Pai Tiatirst Joao Agostinho Auditorium at Margao, extended their full support and appreciation to the Chief Minister, Digamber Kamat, for keeping his word and giving a place of pride to Goa’s oldest and popular performing art, the tiatr.
The Chief Minister, who has a genuine love for art and culture, was himself overwhelmed with the accolades showered on him by successive speakers at the function that he spontaneously burst into a verse of a Konkani song at the end of his speech. The verse was composed by his classmate, one Joao Baptist. The packed audience, in turn, reciprocated with a thunderous applause and shouted ‘once more’. This was in fact the climax of the evening and, by his friendly gesture, one could gauge the sincere love the Chief Minister has for tiatrs and the tiatrist fraternity at large.


RESPONDING to the speech of Tomazinho Cardozo, President of TAG, the Chief Minister assured the gathering that he would look into the just demand of granting industry status to tiatrs since nearly 2000 tiatrs are being staged in Goa annually. Stating that he has always supported performing arts, he reminded those present of fulfilling the demands of the tiatrist fraternity by naming the Ravindra Bhavan auditorium after Pai tiatrist Joao Agostinho Fernandes and now also establishing the TAG.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Master Vaz recalled the sacrifices of senior tiatrists as well as their contribution to the art. The male actors enacted female roles during his time he said, since there were no females on stage till Mohana was introduced on the Konkani stage later by the late C. Alvares. He was all praise for the Chief Minister for establishing the Tiatr Academy and further went onto to make a passionate appeal to the CM to grant acceptance to Konkani in the Roman script.

Cardozo briefly outlined the aims of the Academy and assured the audience that he would ensure total transparency and accountability in the working of the Academy with help from all members. He said there was an urgent need to document the tiatr scripts in book form as well as to have a library where all material concerning tiatrs would be readily available. He added that the academy will work to fulfil all these shortfalls and cautioned those who spread false rumours of disunity and cracks in the newly formed Academy.


HE also reminded the audience that care had been taken in the formation of the Academy by giving due representation to various individuals and artists associated with the Konkani stage in various departments. He envisaged the hope to take the Academy to the national level and also expressed his desire to see tiatrs produced with a focus on national integration and patriotism in the near future.

Prasad Lolyekar, Director, Department of Art & Culture, welcomed the gathering and highlighted the purpose behind setting up the Tiatr Academy. He also said that the government, in addition to the initial grant of Rs. 15 lakhs sanctioned to the Academy at the beginning, a onetime grant of Rs. 1.5 crores has also been approved for acquiring office premises, etc.

The fifteen senior stage artists who were felicitated on the occasion were Ophelia Cabral D Souza, Antonette Mendes, Titta Pretto, Anita Pereira Fernandes, Lidvinda A Clara Dias, Lucas Fernandes, Alegro Roque T Antao - Star of Arrossim, Antonio Moraes, Pedro Caetano D Silva (C D Silva), Thomas Domingo Rosario Antao, Remmie Colaco, (Padmashree) Manuel Santano Aguiar (M Boyer), John Claro Fernandes, Jose Lourenco Vaz (Master Vaz) and Philomena Braz Crasto.

A lively musical show comprising of songs and comedy was put up by tiatrists, to the satisfaction of the packed audience, with the music being provided by Maestro Josinho D’Souza along with Carlito (Trumpet) Sammy (Trombone), Mariano (Bass Guitar), John (Drums) and Noel on the keyboards. A brass band performing at the entrance of the auditorium welcoming the guests gave the venue a true festive look.

Besides the members of the Tiatr Academy, the officers and staff of the Department of Art and Culture were seen working hard behind the scenes to see that everything goes smooth at the inaugural function. One tiatr lover speaking at the venue to me on condition of anonymity stated, "The formation of the Tiatr Academy is a step in the right direction. Government support is a must to take this art to great heights in the future. The members should not bother about the prophets of doom. Their outburst is more out of frustration than genuine concern". After much thought, I realised he was correct. Such negative voices are bound to surface for a while. The wise thing would be to ignore it and march ahead, brushing aside these utterances.


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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.