Tiatr for the Goan Diasporas
Goans and tiatrs are synonymous with each other, so much so that you cannot separate tiatr from Goa. In an effort to ensure Goans living abroad do not miss out on their share of their favourite form of entertainment, tiatrs are often seen travelling to foreign countries that have a sizable Goan population. Cafe checks out this trend
Way back in the 80s and 90s, tiatr and musical shows was one of the best forms of entertainment for Goans serving in the Middle East, especially in the Gulf countries. Dedicated service for 2-3 consecutive years would not permit Goans to return to their home town easily. And consequently, staying tuned to Goan art, culture and language through entertainment provided by tiatrs and musical shows, besides close ties with relations, was a distant dream. But promotion of tiatrs and musical shows in Gulf countries like Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Doha Qatar helped Goans to get themselves entertained to the fullest and thus establish a rapport with the art form, language and tiatrists, who took pains to travel and entertain their fellow brethren abroad. Goans in the Middle East would wait for the golden opportunity to watch tiatrs or musical shows and be satisfied and relaxed, as far as entertainment was concerned. Today, the entertainment scenario has changed drastically in the Gulf countries. Today, musical shows might be a rarity there, but staging of tiatrs periodically has vanished in the air. The reason behind the decline could be due to the lesser percentage of Goan community in the Middle East. Recent migration of the Goan community to Europe, especially to UK, has helped tiatrs reach greater horizon. Tiatrs are flourishing there and some of the hit tiatrs from Goa have resulted to packed houses. Goans simply crave for entertainment in UK and when news spread about staging of tiatrs, they prefer to give up their work and routine tasks and get themselves entertained. Tiatrs have been well accepted in Europe not only by the Goan community, but also by the other communities existing there. Tony Gonsalves from Divar and serving in UK has been one of the tiatr promoters in a big way. As he has always been a tiatr fan, he has taken keen interest in promoting tiatrs and continues with the same zeal till date. Initially, Gonsalves says he tried it out with nightingale of Goa, Lorna for the musical show and it received an overwhelming response. Thereafter, he decided to try the experiment with tiatrs and he equally received good response from the Goan community settled there. When inquired about the selection of tiatrs, Gonsalves said that he makes it a point to return home annually and watch most of the tiatrs being staged in Goa and after feeling the pulse of the Goan audience, he picks up the best and takes it to UK. “Initially, it was quite difficult as there were expenses pertaining to booking of tickets for artistes and musicians, lodging and other aspects. But, gradually it became much easier as I received ample morale support from my other friends in UK,” he added. John de Verna who has also been a promoter of tiatrs in Goa is happy that tiatrs are flourishing in UK today. “It is indeed a matter of joy to note that tiatr is receiving a new horizon in Europe, after the Gulf countries,” he added. And with several tiatrists migrating to UK for greener pastures, “the task has become much easier today,” John says. “There’s no need to bear the travelling and boarding expenses of artistes from Goa,” he adds, “some of the tiatrists can be picked up from there itself, be it singers and actors, thus making the production a success.” Some of the Goantiatrists have been very fortunate to make several trips to London for promotion of the Konkani language and art, culture through tiatrs. One among them is comedian John D’Silva, who will be making his 13thtrip to London in Anil/Olga’s tiatr ‘Xim’. “Hats off to Goans in UK as they have always been supportive to the Goan culture, Konkani language, tiatrs and Konkani films,” D’Silva says. “Wherever a Goan may be, for the love of Goa and Konkani, he/she will express love, show warmth and be very supportive,” he added. Agnelo Lobo from Carambolim, who is presently serving in UK and loves to act and sing in tiatrs during leisure, is of the opinion that tiatrs are flourishing in a big way in UK. “As it is the only form of entertainment for Goans settled and serving there, extensive support is always there and Goans in UK believe that Goan art, culture and Konkani language need to be preserved for posterity,” he added.
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