Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An English Play ‘SWEET POISON’ by Tomazinho Cardozo – A Review

An English Play ‘SWEET POISON’ by Tomazinho Cardozo – A Review

It has been raining incessantly for the last one week – we have not seen the sun all these days! Despite heavy rains, I said to myself: “Come what may; I must attend Tomazinho’s play today (11/8/08)”. With this determination I headed to Panaji and reached Kala Academy at 6:50 p.m. The play began at 7:00.

The play is set in the 1980s, the time which saw a boom in tourism and tourism-related activities, particularly in the coastal belt of Goa. The scenic beauty, the serene ambience and vast stretches of sandy beaches beckoned to the tourist, both foreign and domestic.

The story revolves around a middle class family with two children – son and daughter - studying in the college. Their father is employed in Kuwait. They have a nice ancestral house right on the beach with a thatched hut beside it.

The mother renovates the house, and, in her greed to make a fast buck, she rents it to tourists. There are three rooms in the house – one is rented to a German couple, the other to an Indian tourist (Madrasi), and the third one to a girl from Bombay, who turns out to be a journalist. The mother also supplies meals; she cooks in the thatched hut. Thus, she makes a lot of money from the paying guests. The mother and children sleep in the sitting room.

To begin with, the son gets a naked glimpse of the German couple living in their room. Watching them naked becomes a habit for him. The moment he reaches home, he gets to their bedroom door and watches them. Gradually, he befriends them; ultimately, he starts taking drugs.

Initially, the daughter was against the German couple’s stay in their house but she, too, begins to take a liking for them and becomes their friend; the result? She, too, becomes a dope addict.

To make matters worse, the Madrasi paying guest, turns out to be a drug supplier. He lures the son and sends out packets of cocaine through him to his contacts; thus, the son becomes a drug peddler.

There are two side characters in the play – A guy called Cursino Mergulhão who is known to all as ‘tourism’, and his archrival who is also known by his nickname ‘anti-tourism’. While ‘tourism’ encourages the mother to go for tourism and make more money, the ‘anti-tourism’ cautions and tells her of the adverse effect of tourism on the life of the children in the family, particularly on education. He also tells her that money is not everything in this world.

The father suddenly arrives home from Kuwait. Upon entering the house, the wife asks him if he liked the new shape of the renovated house. She then convinces him to leave his job and join her in the business to which he agrees. He then asks for his children but none is available around. He is upset because he had especially flown home for his daughter’s birthday on that day.

While in the sitting room, the Bombay girl comes out and introduces herself to the father. He asks her how she could afford to pay Rs.250 per day for the room. She tells him that she has been sent to Goa by the Editor of a newspaper to investigate and write about tourism in Goa. She then hands him the final copy of the manuscript and asks him to read it. Obviously, it was a report on his family.

As he was reading the manuscript, his daughter shows up along with the German couple. She is so high on drugs that she can’t even walk properly – she was flying (on drugs)! The father can’t believe his eyes. He wishes her happy birthday and hands in a gold necklace as a birthday gift but instead of thanking him, she passes it on to the German guy and asks him to sell it and buy drugs for them. For the mother, the whole world collapses around her; she holds her head in her hands and is dumb-founded.

While the father was watching his daughter’s behavior, son rushes inside the house followed by a police inspector. Yes, you got it right. He was caught red-handed distributing drugs. Both parents are flabbergasted!

The play highlights a very important issue in our society that threatens the value system and the culture of Goa. By renting houses to tourists, locals make a lot of money without much sacrifice and hard work – this is very sweet. However, the intensity with which it badly affects the value system and lifestyles of our children, it is poisonous; hence, the name of the play ‘SWEET POISON’!

Without exception, each one of the actors has done fabulously well. The role of mother ‘Magdu’ was played by none other than Irene Cardozo; the father – Manohar Redkar; the two children – Shivanand Naik as ‘Jerry’ and Joslyn Misquita as ‘Linda’. They were supported by the foreign tourist couple – Comedian 64 as ‘Wheel’ and Selza Lopes as ‘Geene’ – everyone thought they were real foreigners. The Indian tourist ‘Puttuswamy’ was performed by Dnyashwar Morajkar; Larissa D’Souza as ‘Freeda the journalist’; Mathias Mascarenhas as ‘tourism’; Assis Cardozo as ‘anti-tourism’; Tukaram Naik as the Police Inspector.

The stage setting was by Timothy Dias; background music by Vikas Chopdekar; light effects by Dhananjay Phalkar; Costumes by Irene Cardozo; make-up by Xavier Mascarenhas.

The play is the translation of the Konkani tiatr entitled “Mhonvall Vikh” by Tomazinho Cardozo. It was staged in 1989 in the yearly Tiatr Competition organized by Kala Academy of Goa. It is adapted in English by Irene Cardozo.

Our heartiest congratulations to Tomazinho Bab Cardozo for a well-written and directed play! We look forward to witnessing more Konkani tiatr and English plays from your pen. Keep up the good work! God bless.

Domnic Fernandes

Gaumvaddy, Anjuna - Goa.

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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.