20 Apr 2024  |   04:11am IST

Tiatr Day passes by with no celebrations

Tiatr is a unique theatre form of Goa which is most popular not only in Goa but across the world, especially among the Goan diaspora. The Konkani tiatr finds its origins in Mumbai (then Bombay), where the first tiatr, ‘Italian Bhurgo’ was staged by Lucasinho Ribeiro in 1892. Every year, April 17 has been celebrated as Tiatr Day, however, this year, the day went without any remembrance of the stalwarts or celebrations
Tiatr Day passes by with no celebrations

Pio Esteves

In the history of tiatr, April 17 has always been celebrated as the ‘Tiatr Day’, recalling the day when the first tiatr came into existence after hard efforts put in by Lucasinho Ribeiro, who was part of the Italian operas, followed by Joao Agostinho Fernandes, who took forward the baton and it flourished thereafter till this day.

As history reveals, ‘it was on April 17 (Easter Sunday), 1892, that the first ever Konkani tiatr ‘Italian Bhurgo’ written and directed by Lucasinho Ribeiro, was staged at the New Alfred Theatre (Bombay). This was the birth of the modern day Konkani tiatr.    

Over the years, the only institution promoting theatre and arts, Kala Academy had come to celebrate this auspicious day by organising cultural programme and felicitating the senior tiatrists, whose immense contribution helped in the growth of tiatr.

When the Tiatr Academy of Goa (TAG) came into existence in 2009, the celebration of ‘Tiatr Day’ was taken over by TAG from Kala Academy. Initially, it was in collaboration with both the institutions that this unique celebration would go forward in full swing and many tiatrists, both young and the old, amateurs, juniors and seniors would come together and it was more of a family reunion on that opportune day.

Being the Easter season and new releases in the offing, some of the tiatr directors would cancel their presentations in the villages or cities and attend the function marking the ‘Tiatr Day’. It was also a special occasion to pay rich tributes to the stalwarts of the tiatr stage, whose immense contribution in various aspects could not be ignored.

But unfortunately this year, ‘Tiatr Day’ passed by without any programme being planned neither by the Kala Academy, the TAG nor the associations promoting and supporting tiatrs.  

Sharon Mazarello, who has been in the tiatr field for quite a long period said, “Tiatr day was selected to be celebrated every year since April 17, 1892, when the first Konkani tiatr ‘Italian Bhurgo’ was staged at New Alfred Theatre, Mumbai. This year, none seems to remember to celebrate such a big day. Not even the Tiatr Academy, which is established for tiatr and tiatr activities, thought of celebrating this day and it is very sad to 

note such negligence on the part of the concerned authorities.” 

“Tiatr has started falling out from the memory of the tiatrists,” grieved Wilson Mazarello, another senior tiatrist of yesteryears. “Fortunately, we have institutions like Kala Academy, Tiatr Academy of Goa, Art and Culture department in our tiny state and the concerned authorities should have taken the initiative of organising a small programme in remembrance of that big day and all those senior tiatrists who contributed so much towards the growth and progress of tiatrs,” he said.

Ex-president of TAG, Tomazinho Cardozo informed that Kala Academy had been observing and celebrating ‘Tiatr Day’ since 1996. “When TAG was formed, there was a meeting and discussion and it was decided for a collective celebration by KA and TAG and the festivity continued since 2009 annually.” 

“On account of Covid-19 the annual celebration might have come to an abrupt halt,” Tomazinho revealed, “but post-Covid the celebration should have continued if not on a big scale, at least on a small scale. And now with the elections around the corner, the authorities will always have excuses concerning code of conduct.”

“Apart from institutions promoting art and culture of Goa, there are associations equally working towards the growth of tiatr,” Tomazinho said, “at least they should have taken the lead in the celebration. It is unfortunate that this day is not celebrated and just ignored.” “When code of conduct comes into force, new things cannot be implemented,” he said, but reminded that old things can be carried out with any hassle as it is an annual activity.

“Felicitation of senior tiatrists which was part of the ‘Tiatr Day’ celebrations or awarding the tiatrists for their contribution could be ignored or omitted, but a programme to mark the day should have been chalked out. Maybe KA, TAG must have avoided it in order not to fall into confusion and the associations too must have stayed away evading risks,” he said.

Another senior tiatrist from Anjuna, Jessie Dias grieved when she came to know that there was no programme to mark ‘Tiatr Day’ celebrations this year. “Instead of celebration, it was a day of mourning,” she sighed. “How can we overlook and forget the immense contribution made by our stalwarts of the tiatr stage, who are no longer with us today?” she queried, “there are only two memorable days, namely April 17 (Tiatr Day) and April 24 (Konkani Cinema Day) which we cannot forget and deserve to be celebrated annually by the concerned authorities.”   


Idhar Udhar