Friday, November 20, 2009



When the countrys first woman President, Pratiba Devsingh Patil arrives on her first official four day visit to Goa from 21st November, 2009 to 24th November 2009 it would perhaps interest her to know that like her historic accomplishment as a woman --- the first woman to act on stage on 22.11.1904, at a time when such public performances by a woman attracted social stigma and obvious ostracisation from society, was indeed a 23 year lady Goan Maria Regina Fernandes ( born on 16.11.1880 died on 20.12.1908 ).

Hailing from village Raia in Salcete, she was married to Joao Agostinho Fernandes a tiatrist hailing from Modsai Margao Salcete . Joao Agostinho (born on 14.12.1871 died on 29.08.1947 ) a Konkani playwright (tiatrist) and dramatist who earned the sobriquet “Pai Tiatrist” i.e Father of “tiatr “ wrote nearly 30 original plays unlike others who merely resorted to adaption of plays written in other languages. The seven act play accompanied by 18 side-shows was his format now adapted for staging tiatros by tiatrist (Konkani playwrights). He endeavoured to undo the gender inequality and vowed to reverse the role of males who would otherwise perform the role of women in “tiatrs”. Thus he is credited for creating history by introducing his wife Maria Regina to act on stage in his tiatr “Bhattkara de Panzare-I (Landlord of Panzare – I) written and directed by him.

The show was staged in Gaiety Theatre (now Capitol Cinema, Mumbai). Her sterling performance on stage raised eyebrows because no female had until then ever ventured to perform on stage. Even on the Marathi stage no such instance of a woman acting on stage was heard of until several years later. Her performance on stage and the role in the “tiatr” itself won rave reviews and sent shock waves wherever it was staged in places as far as Bhusawal, Igatpuri, Pune and Jhansi. It is a sad commentary that 104 years later on this red letter day (22.11.1904) in the annals of “tiatr” history neither the State Government nor the newly constituted Tiatr Academy of Goa (on 16th February, 2008) have thought it fit to either a) award her posthumously or b) display a portrait of hers in the Tiatr Academy of Goa office for her pioneering role or c) institute an award in her name to encourage women to take up “tiatr” as a profession.

“Tiatr” is a form of performing art in Konkani language which is mainly prevalent in the Catholic dominated talukas of Goa and is staged world wide where the Goan community have ventured. Even in the today’s westernized society that has influenced Goan society tiatrs attract huge audiences even though it has not been granted the status of industry. For the records it may be noted that it was only in 1913 that the first woman Bhasmasur Mohini ventured to act in films. Much later in 1932 i.e 28 years later after Maria Regina maiden entry on stage that another Goan Kamalabai Rambhau Gokhale (marital surname) and daughter of sitar musician Durgabai Kamat from Assonora Bardez Goa ventured to act on Marathi stage.

It is hoped that the President of India recommends to the Govt of Goa to do justice to the immortal memory of Ms Maria Regina Fernandes.

403 602, GOA. (INDIA)+91 98221 58584 (24 HRS).

20/11/2009 (22/11/2009)

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive


About Me

My photo
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.