From: "Brian Costa"
Chuck Konnachi - Konkani Tiatro in Toronto
O Portugues foi mas a nossa lingua Konkani esta
Viva O Konkani, Viva O Goa
(Review and Interview with Director Marshal Fernandes)
October 24th, 2009; History was created at Michael Power High School by Producer
Sandra Menezes, Director Marshal Fernandes and their entire cast and crew of the
Konkani Tiatro "CHUK KONNACHI".
I have attended Konkani Tiatros in Toronto for the past several years and I must say
nothing ever came close to this fantastic and extravagant performance. My hats off
to Sandra Menezes and Marshal Fernandes for giving the Goans of Toronto something to
remember for years to come; Sandra has produced this sold out event and Marshal has
casted the best cast ever and directed this play at its best.
I had nothing but praises and compliments to the team of Chuk Konnachi. My personal
review begins when I reached Michael Power School at 1:50 p.m. After a few rounds in
the parking lot I managed to find a spot and was surprised to see a full parking
lot. I entered the school at 2:05 p.m. and was surprised again to see the crowed
hallway. People were lining up to enter, some to grab goodies given by Kevin D'Souza
(Platinum Sponsor) and some to view the Konkani Song Book by Francis Rodrigues.
Ultimately all present were soon to be witnessing the best drama ever staged in
Toronto. Some people were looking for tickets, but in vain. This show was apparently
sold out weeks before October 24th. The hall management was smooth and superb, only
to find out that Silviano Barbosa, Roliffe D'Souza and their team was responsible
for this efficiency.
Once seated in the auditorium, it was 2:20 p.m. and I expected the show to commence
at least at 3:00 p.m. To my pleasant surprise, Dr. Lucina Pinto came on the stage at
2:30 p.m. sharp to render the national anthem "O'Canada" in Konkani, What a delight!
I was given to understand that this anthem was translated by the director, Marshal
Fernandes - another great feat.
Soon after the national anthem, Joe Vaz, Rhio Gracias and Marshal Fernandes sang one
of the best composed songs, M.Boyer to whom this Tiatro was tributed and the song
was composed by Marshal Fernandes. From then on there was no looking back; the play
went on with beautiful ear pleasing songs. The timing and the flow of the scenes
were impeccable. There was no time for boredom nor to think of what was coming up
next. It was smooth sailing throughout the Tiatro.
I cannot pick nor point any single individual that did not perform at his/her best,
and for that performance, the audience was pleased, satisfied and went home with a
memory that will last for years to come. The stage sets were so simple, yet brought
out the reality of homes in Goa and was a pleasant sight to the eyes of the viewers.
I believe this credit goes to the stage manager, A.C. Pereira and his team. A.C.
also received a "Dedicated Contribution" award for his past work contributed to the
Konkani stage; a well deserved one.
Before I get into the review of the play, I'd like to comment on the songs which
were so beautiful and pleasing that I must congratulate all the singers who did a
wonderful job. This is the first time I have ever heard so many locally composed
songs, I can see that talent is in abundance in Toronto and I thank the composers
for bringing their talent on stage. I would like to recognize these individuals as
it takes a lot of talent and sacrifice to compose songs and train individuals to
perform them on stage.
O'Canada - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by Dr. Luicna Pinto
M.Boyer - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by Joe Vaz, Rhio Gracias and
Bhagientlem Full - Composed by Chris Gomes, performed by Hazel Jacob and Chris Gomes
UK- Canada - Goa - Composed by Jack Fernandes, performed by Tony D'Silva, Olavio
DaCosta and Jack Fernandes
Amche Musician - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by Joe Vaz
Fuddlem Xincop - Composed by Chris Gomes, performed by Clema Fernandes and Chris
Jinga Mummy - Hit Song of the evening - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by
Rhiza Gracias and Sylda Gracias
Hot Pants - Composed by Jack Fernandes, performed by Jack Fernandes
Ami Goeankar - Closing Chorus - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by Joe Vaz,
Rhia Gracis, Olav Da Costa, Yolanda Gracias, Hazel Jacob, Tony D'Silva, Sandra
Menezes and Marshal Fernandes
Mog Mog Mog (Canto) - Composed by Marshal Fernandes, performed by Sandra Menezes and
Other hit songs included:
Mobile - Olympio Fernandes
Johnny Zai - Hazel Jacob
Football - Olympio Fernandes and Ruth Kumar
Mog Mozo Kortai - Auggie Pereira
Putachem Cazar - Staphanie Manezes, Rhio Gracias, Sandra Menezes and Marshal
Tribute to Lorna – Performed by the melodious Ruth Kumar
Congratulations! to all composers and singers for a job well done and displaying a
talent one would only think of finding in Goa - KUDOS!
Now for the play, what can I say, this was a drama where the audience was dazzled
with the story line and comedy that left no room for anything but praises and
compliments. Right from start to finish, it was fantastic and people in the
auditorium were roaring with laughter throughout. One point of recognition goes to
the director for selecting a cast that played their roles to the fullest and at the
Beginning with Pai (Bonfilio Pereira), a new found talent by Marshal Fernandes,
performed his role flawlessly along with his stage wife (Yolanda Gracias) who
demonstrated her feisty and rich lady role to perfection. It was a perfect match for
a household couple. Their children, Rhiza, who made the audience cry, along with
Bonfilio were simply great. Grace Almeida, who played a flirtatious role caught the
eye of the audience. Sandra Menezes, the third daughter, played her part so well, it
suited her personality and I felt that she depicted her character as best as it
could be played. Joe Vaz, Tony D'Silva, Olavio DaCosta and Benny Pereira who played
as Husbands, Fiancée, and Boyfriend were superb and demonstrated their roles to
perfection. These couples were like matches made in heaven and to my eyes, I felt
that I was watching an everyday life story of a household. Great Job!
Chris Gomes, in his multi-personality role, played as Grace's Boyfriend brought in
the character that not many could perform. His dashing life style in the play (a
playboy) brought life to the whole event. Dr. Menezes, played by Stephanie Menezes,
was a small but crucial role to fill in the storyline. Stephanie, a young talented
actor and singer showed that young talent can be groomed and made ready for the
Konkani Stage. Congratulations Stephanie, keep it up. Olympio Fernandes, who made a
cameo appearance as a priest closed the play in a memorable manner.
I could go on and on and on, but the above was a simplistic view of the drama.
The Comedians that left the audience roaring with laughter every minute they were on
stage were simply terrific and deserved a standing ovation in my books. Agnelo
Gracias, who played as Mama (Uncle) was impeccable with his flawless command of
xasti Konkani and the control of the stage. His performance was just outstanding. He
was paired with Sera Barbosa (Consu), whose simple appearance itself was enough for
the audience. Sera was outstanding in her own brilliant way of comedy that made the
people wanting more and more. Agnelo and Sera combination was a sight for sore eyes.
Marshal Fernandes (Leitao) who played a simpleton (Lollo) was just too good. His
appearance, comedic mannerism and the comedy itself brought the house down with
laughter. I must say, Agnelo, Sera and Marshal paid us back in full and was worth
The event was closed with the fantastic rendering of "Ami Goeankar" a song composed
by Marshal Fernandes, showed unity among Goans and the love for Konkani. The
audience, I am sure were left with hunger for more. Unfortunately, there is only so
much these talented folks can do within the allotted time. I am positive that our
hunger and thirst will be quenched by this team, in the near future by giving us
another of their extraordinary performance.
In speaking to some of the people in the audience, during intermission and after the
Tiatro, here’s what some of them had to say:
"Anson Pott Borlem"
"The best we have ever seen"
"Nothing short of perfection"
"Need more Tiatrs such as Chuk Konnachi"
"Jinga Mummy was the best song"
"The whole package was fantastic"
"They should do a second show"
"Never before we have seen a Tiatro without boredom and gaps"
"Perfect timing, unlike in the past"
and much more................................
I was so pleased with the whole show that I had the urge to find out the factors
contributing to such a huge success. Unfortunately, I could not speak to the
Producer, Sandra Menezes, hence I took the liberty to interview the Director,
Marshal Fernandes, who I believe was Sandra’s right-hand man and driving force
behind this production.
I-Interviewer / M-Marshal Fernandes
I - Marshal, since when did you start working on this project?
M - This Tiatr was scheduled to be staged a few years ago, unfortunately was
cancelled due to SARS. Since we had worked so hard on this, I could not see it go
unperformed. Hence, Joe, Agnelo, Sandra and I got together and decided to stage it
in 2009. To answer your question, we began rehearsals on July 05, 2009 with breaks
in between. Prior to that there were months of planning administrative work as well.
I - How did you to select such a perfect cast?
M- I have worked with most of the cast over the years and have a very good idea of
what each individual is capable of. I had help from Agnelo Gracias and Sandra
Menezes in selecting some of the cast members. Bonfilio Pereira and Sylda Gracias
were the only new members of our team and there are no regrets.
I - How did you manage to have such a perfect timing from start to finish?
M - It was our objective from day one that we would begin the play on time and we
did it. In fact, someone told me that we actually began the play a minute earlier
then scheduled. Never before has this happened. This is attributed to the hard work
and efficiency of the back stage crew, the play coordinator, the prompter, actors,
singers, etc, who were thoroughly focused on what each one had to do. Great Team!
I - What kind of marketing strategy did you put in place to have a sold out
M - Trade Secret my friend, Trade Secret, just kidding. I had the best team ever,
what can I say, each one put in their 100% to promote this event and pushed hard to
sell the tickets. The tickets were well distributed across GTA, the event was well
publicized months before, and most importantly word of mouth goes a long way. My
family, especially my Mom played a big role in promoting this event. I would like to
quote my Mom in one of her telephone conversation " Mojea cheddeacho Tiatr assa
Octoberant, soglin evunkuch zai, ekdom boro tiatr" then she continues "Ticketi zai
zalear maka sangat" and this type of promotion went on in most of the conversations.
In speaking to my Mom, she told me that the reason we had a good and sold out show
was due to the fact that she prayed that the Tiatro would be a success, and Yes! God
did hear her prayers. I joked with her and said that she prayed too hard as the
tickets were sold out three weeks in advance. Jokes aside, God’s blessings were with
us throughout the tenure of this project. But, keep in mind, one person cannot
achieve this type of success; it's simply the best team work I have ever seen.
I – I had the opportunity to speak to some of the actors and the one comment that
most of them made was “Marshal is always so calm and composed that we had no
pressure to deliver what we were set out to accomplish” What do you have to say to
M – What can I say, my job as a director ended on Friday October 23rd, 2009. On
October 24th, I was one of the actors, however, giving a bird’s eye view to the
production along with Sandra Menezes. Whatever happens on the final day is
inevitable as I had full confidence in my actors and singers as well as the stage
crew. I have worked with most of the team for years and was positive that they will
do their job to the satisfaction of the audience.
I – What can you say about your team?
M – What I want to say cannot be put on paper; no words can describe the effort,
commitment, dedication, respect and hard work put into this production. It is
because of them that we have achieved this success. Right from the individual who
opens/closes the curtain to the people who do the projections, sound, band, stage
sets, transitions, actors, singers, prompters, etc are crucial to our success. If
any of them fail to do their job, this event would have failed. In addition, all the
folks who have helped in promoting this event, selling tickets, managing the hall,
etc were equally important. Last but not least, the families of the actors and
singers who have sacrificed their time with their loved ones are also contributing
factors to this success. To them I am and will be forever grateful. In a nut shell,
I cannot emphasize more on the three words – Great Team Work.
I – What are your comments about the rehearsals?
M – Oh, On July 05, 2009, and followed through every Sunday until October 24th. Of
Course, we had breaks in between, but the point is of dedication commitment. One
most important factor I like to consider is that we have fun, and that’s what we did
for 4 months. Yes, we had ups and downs and pressures, etc, but we were all
committed and the end result depicted the same. In addition to our talent we had a
great team that gets along with each other, respects each other and supports each
other in time of need. That in itself is sufficient to constitute the makeup of a
I – I heard that the Goan Folks are requesting a second show. I heard that people
came from Montreal, Halifax, Chicago, and Hamilton to watch this play, what are your
M – Unfortunately, we will not be having a second show in Toronto. God willing, we
will all be healthy and ready to come up with another hit Tiatro in the near future.
As a matter of fact, Sandra Menezes, I and the team are in the planning phases of
producing an event that hopefully will be as successful as this. It is the biggest
compliment one can ever get, when your audience is comprised of various cities and
towns. I personally received numerous e-mails from fans who were more than satisfied
with our Tiatro. Similarly, all of the actors and singers received such e-mails and
phone calls as well. One, Mrs. Lamas actually wrote a letter to Sandra and me
congratulating the team on such a great performance. I intend to post all of the
feedback on some site whereby all can see the response of the audience.
I – Marshal, I have taken enough of your time and I thank you very much for speaking
to me. I’d like to congratulate the entire cast, musicians, sound, etc for a
fabulous job and giving us Goans an evening to remember.
M – It is my pleasure to speak to you and again, my thanks to all the people and my
crew for making CHUK KONNACHI a great success. If there was anything that was not to
your satisfaction, I take full responsibility as the actors and singers did what
they were supposed to do. A small request to all reading this interview, Keep
Konkani Alive and keep the oil burning to keep the flame of Konkani going in
“Tumcam sogleank Deu borem corum