Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” That is the reason when a singer takes the stage in a tiatr and sings a song that hits the nail on its head about a current issue, there are requests for an encore with whistles and applause.
Theatre has the power to send out social messages through its entertainment-packed dramas. In Goa, one is treated to different forms of drama like tiatr and natak, both equally entertaining and musical. This form of performance is staged in different languages in Goa and in different settings too, like the night long Jagor or Zomnivhelle Khel tiatrs. There is always love for these performances and youngsters are still attracted to be part of drama troupes in Goa.
Giving this dose of acting, singing and overall entertainment, this year, Goa is offering a bouquet of performances beginning from March 25 to 31 at different venues. The list of plays include ‘Shhhh... No Horn Please,’ a solo play in Konkani by Madhuri Shetkar on March 25, ‘Soul to Soul,’ an experimental play by Satish Narvekar on March 26, ‘Jamun ka Ped,’ a Hindi short solo theatrical performance by Theatre Flamingo on March 26, 29 and 31 and ‘Aadimaya’ a theatre presentation of monologues by Abhivyaktee – Panjim on March 27 and 28.
The Directorate of Art and Culture, organises a month-end theatre activity called ‘Prayog Saanj’ on the last Saturday of every month. The March month end presentation will be ‘Shhhh... No Horn Please’ a solo play in Konkani language by Sheit Kadi Studios on March 25 at 6.30 pm at Multipurpose Hall of Sanskruti Bhavan, Patto, Panjim. The play is written by Madhuri Shetkar and directed by Sushant Nayak with music by Tanaji Gaude, set by Vidya Nayak, costumes by Snehal Gaonkar and lights by Sahil Bandodkar. Madhuri Shetkar herself will be doing this solo performance. Children below 18 years are not allowed for this play.
Directed by Satish Narvekar, ‘Soul To Soul’ will be performed on March 26 at 7 pm at Carpe Diem, Majorda. The cast includes Mamata Jaiswar, Prasad Kalangutkar, Hrucha Amonkar and Runal Kolkonkar with music by Kaushal Kavlekar, set by Yogish Kapadi and costume by Sweta Narvekar. The story revolves around the romantic relationship between a Christian boy and a Hindu girl against the backdrop of Goa’s freedom struggle from Portuguese rule. This inner conflict is portrayed in this drama through puppetry as the director tries to interpret the text visually and present it in the form of two road puppets to show this conflict.
Satish Narvekar is no stranger to the stage as he has been part of drama for the past 30 years, presenting plays on stage in Marathi, Hindi, Konkani and English as well as through mediums like All India Radio and Door Darshan. “In Goa, there are groups that perform for theatre competitions and some which perform beyond the competition level. There is still a need to observe world theatre and how to evolve to that level of performance by performing at the national and international level, which will eventually bring glory to Goa. There is a need for experimentation and thinking out of the box for every aspect of a play. The government should also lend their support for such directors and theatre groups,” says Satish.
‘Soul to Soul’ was first performed at a competition in Goa and then at Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2017, followed by an online performance at the online South Asian Theater Festival (SATF) in 2022 and more recently at the 22nd National School of Drama Bharat Rang Mahotsav, International Theatre Festival of India in Nashik in February 2323. The play was also performed as part of ‘Prayog Saanj’ at Margao, Ponda and Sanquelim.
‘Jamun Ka Ped’, a short solo theatrical performance by Theatre Flamingo will be staged on March 26 at 7 pm at Prose Patisserie and Café, Nachinola. With a solo act by Mandar Joy, the Hindi play is directed by Shravan Fondekar and adapted by Shablo Gaonkar, Shivpranav Alavani has written the lyrics and composed the music while the story is originally written by Krishna Chandar. The play will also be performed at Literati Bookshop and Café, Calangute on March 29 at 7.30 pm and at Saraya Café, Eco-Stay and Art Gallery, Sangola on March 31 at 7.30 pm.
“Theatre in Goa are on two levels. There are groups which work on a semi-professional that take perform at different festivals in Goa and professional groups which perform in festivals outside Goa too. Kala Academy also encourages theatre enthusiasts with different competitions like Tiatr Competition in A and B category, Konkani Natya Spardha and Marathi Nataks in A and B category. The winning natak at this competition is also offered the opportunity to participate at the Maharashtra Natak competition for the Maharashtra and Goa region. Theatre performers are not just limited to the stage but they can also work as assistant directors as well as conduct acting workshops apart from a whole range of opportunities the film and television industry can offer,” says Mandar Jog, a noted stage and film actor.
Every year, Theatre Flamingo conducts Ghumchye Katrr Theatre which is storytelling thourhg Goan folk based meiudms. The plays are open ended and performed in schools where children are encouraged to read a particular book to know the ending of the story. Theatre Flamingo is based in Poinguinim, Canacona and will be hosting their annual week long theatre festival in the month of May.
Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts in association with Abhivyaktee – Panaji will be putting up a theatre presentation ‘Aadimaya’ on March 27 and 28 from 7 pm onwards at Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho, Panjim. Inspired by the current debate surrounding the Mhadei River, considered a primary source of water in Goa, this play is a contemplation on the cultural aspects of this water body. This performance presents selected monologues from various plays of different periods where women act as central figures, while also inquiring into the relationship between the characters and the river’s symbolic and mystical nature.
Directed by Dr Saish Deshpande, the characters include Aadimaya performed by Prashanti Talpankar, Sankasur performed by Raghuvir Govekar, Benare performed by Anuja Purohit in Marathi, Nora from ‘A Doll’s House’ performed by Yashila Lobo in English, Medea from the Greek classic performed by Laxmi Mahatme-Satordekar in Marathi, Fatima from the tiatr, ‘Chuk’, performed by Genevieve Rodrigues in Konkani, Hidimba performed by Sobita Kudtarkar in Hindi, Mariyan from Konkani play ‘Suring’ performed by Gauri Kamat in Konkani, Pratima from Indian play, ‘Pratima Ek Geet’ performed by Prerna Palekar in Marathi and Hindi, Angela from the play, ‘Yatra’ performed by Dr Ramita Gurav in Hindi and Vruddh Andha Yug performed by Raghuvir Govekar in Hindi.
“In Goa, we look at theatre as a form of entertainment. Theatre is a strong medium and can be more localised with our thoughts, social issues and send out a message through the audience. Theatre is much more powerful as a medium of communication and youngsters want to be part of the movement and it is encouraging to see them take the stage,” concludes Dr Saish Deshpande, a noted theatre director, musician and academician.