Friday, June 5, 2009

Tiatr Academy and the challenges ahead

Tiatr Academy and the challenges ahead

Written by Daniel F. de Souza

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has delivered on his promises made to the tiarist fraternity. The fact that the Tiatr Academy was to be set up for the betterment and development of tiatr which a unique form of performing Art was doing the rounds for quite sometime, and finally now that it is here, work has to begin with right earnest. Tomazinho Cardozo, the founder of Kala Mogi, Candolim, and a renowned tiatr personality, lyricist, Playwright and director who has a vast experience in tiatrs has been rightfully appointed as the President to head the Academy. The other members of the Tiatr Academy nominated by the Government are; Sharon Mazarello, Marcelino de Betim, Rose Ferns, Prince Jacob, Premanand Sangodkar, Mario Pereira, Joe Rose, Jessie Dias, Mike Mehta and Fr. Neville Gracias.

The body so far constituted seems to be well balanced with renowned Playwrights, directors, senior actors who have done yeoman service to the Konkani stage over the years. The induction of two senior ladies Sharon Mazarello and Jessie Dias on the Academy not only adds glamour but will surely lend a balanced voice to the body. Fr. Nevel L. Gracias {Vell’lekar) a clergyman who has enriched the Konkani stage with his several educative and thought provoking religious tiatrs with regularity also finds a place so deserving on the panel.

Now that the Tiatr Academy has been constituted, there is no time to waste. There is lot that needs to be done in this sphere of ‘Tiatr’. Tomazinho has a well defined task on hand, and knowing his commitment, a sound experience coupled with a sound knowledge of the subject I have no doubt he will shoulder the responsibility well, provided he gets the unstinted support and co-operation of the other members on the panel. Tomazinho Cardozo, has many progressive ideas up his sleeve as to how the professional Konkani stage should move towards a better future. However, all depends how the others in the group accept his ideas and work together keeping aside personal agenda for a better tomorrow.

While the Aim, Objectives and Scope of this Academy is still not very clear, but suffice to say, its main objective will be to provide maximum benefit to the Konkani stage and the artists and see to its overall progress and growth with a genuine touch of professionalism. In order to achieve the objectives, the first and foremost step Tomazinho will perhaps have to initiate is to bring the two factions of the artists together burying all their differences. It is a known fact that there are noticeable cracks within the Tiatrist fraternity, and this is one major stumbling block to move forward with a progressive vision. Difference of opinions, jealousy, egoism, pride, enmity, and backbiting has been the major causes of disunity among artistes on the Konkani stage. If Tomazinho can achieve their unity within the shortest possible time, half the battle is won. In order to achieve success in any endeavour unity is a must to move forward, disunity can prove to be a constraint for the success of any venture.

Now that the Tiatr Academy is established there is no doubt Tiatr a unique performing art will get a major boost in the State. The full potential of this art can be fully exploited to take it to great heights provided all concerned work with a single minded purpose and genuine sincerity. The Academy should have a focus in mind and should not deviate from it. It is not only the responsibility of the President and the members on the panel, but a collective responsibility of all the professional tiatrist to work for the success of the Academy.

The Tiatr Academy will have to play a major role in improving the standard of the Goan Tiatr and make it even more attractive to the masses specially the Goan youth with a modern mindset who are still not drawn to the Konkani theatre as much as they are drawn to the Bollywood films and English theatre. This I know is not a simple task. But a beginning has to be made. Tomazinho and his enlightened team will have to seriously consider several aspects of the tiatr such as Script writing, direction, production, stage settings, lighting, music, other technical aspects such as the use of modern technology for better presentation etc in order to raise the standard of tiatrs. More professionals in various departments of the art have to enter the scene in order to improve the overall image of present day Tiatr.

Playwrights who are successful in their ventures and boasts of staging 50 plus performances of their shows should be encouraged and made liable to publish the tiatr script in book form for the benefit of youngsters who wish to follow in their footsteps. There is a general complaint from several playwrights that now-a-days tiatrs are no longer profitable in terms of financial returns considering the expenditure involved in producing a play. Apart from a few established playwrights, many other have to do a tight rope walk in order to survive. Giving them the benefit of doubt, the Academy should genuinely study these grievances and come out with solutions to support the artists. One immediate step could be in enhancing the entrance ticket presently priced at Rs. 60/- which in these inflationary times appears to be on the lower side.

The tiatr fraternity has been for long time now demanding that the Government should accord it the ‘Industry Status’, the Academy will do well to study this demand in detail and prepare a feasibility report and submit it to the Government for necessary action. After all Tiatr is a major aspect of our Goan Culture having a large fan following not only in Goa but wherever Goans have settled to earn their bread and butter and one can’t expect it to lag behind, but on the contrary it has to march ahead and achieve greater heights in years to come.


Comments (1)
Tiatr Academy and the Challenges Ahead
written by generio, January 15, 2009

I hope Daniel's expectations of what the Tiatr Academy should achieve come true. It's important that different factions, though Daniel talks of "two factions", in the tiatr community should come together for a common cause -- to improve the standard. If one goes by past records, tiatrists don't join hands to fight together because, as Daniel points out, there are egos and personal agendas.
Let's take the case of a young Goan who wants to be a professional tiatrist. He/she joins the academy and then graduates into a professional actor. Would he/she get enough money from the stage to make a decent living? In the current situation and possibly in the near future I doubt so.
I have seen many "professional" tiatrists in Mumbai in the 1960s and 70s struggle to make ends meet. Some of them even borrowed money. Maybe the "rate" for doing a character role has gone up now, and possibly many, at least Goa-based tiatrists, are dependent solely on the stage for their livelihood. Oldtimers such as M. Boyer and Jacinto, to mention but just wo, could survive because they charged higher rates and also acted in many tiatrs, often one following the other, because they drew in audiences.
Since Sharan Mazarello is part of the executive board and she and husband Wilson ran, or even runs, an acting school, I would like to know how many of their students are full-time professional tiatrists.
Are there professional trainers to guide and train the students? Would the academy be like the National School of Drama in Delhi or the National Film Institute in Pune?
Daniel has said that the Aims and Objectives of this new body are "not very clear" I would like him to post them on this forum.
To echo Daniel's sentiment, though I do it with a heavy heart, the youth are not enamoured of the Konknni stage. From observing the current trend and having attended some tiatrs in Goa, I can say that the youth do not patronize the tiatr as much as they do Hindi and English films. I am not sure how much the English stage appeals to them, but I believe the English stage is progressing steadily in Goa.
I will not comment on the current standard of the tiatr because I have not see many of them. But from the few I have seen, I am doubtful if the Konknni stage has progressed in comparison to the state it was when I was a regular at tiatrs in Mumbai in the 1960s upto the 1981.
Surely, the challenges ahead are a lot. It would take a lot of effort to prop up the Konknni stage to a standard we could be proud of.

Eugene Correia

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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.