India Post may issue a setenant stamp issue this year on Goan Tiatr.Tiatr is a type of musical theatre popular in Goa. The dramas are performed mainly in the Roman Konkani dialects and include music, dancing and singing. Tiatr performers are called tiatrists. The word tiatr comes from the Portuguese word for theatre, Tiatr today revolves around social, religious and political themes. It is considered to be a mirror of Goan culture. The drama consists of 6 or 7 acts called pordhe . The acts are interspersed by songs which need not be directly linked to the content or the issues of the main drama. There are 2 or 3 songs between each of the acts.
Tiatrist have always demonstrated a very high degree of social awareness. Most of the themes of tiatr are concerned with social problems confronting the people.
The Tiatr is an instance where mass support plays a crucial role. It is one of those arts which despite centuries of Portuguese suppression and post-liberation neglect from the state governments, has not just survived but also thrived and reinvented itself in many ways. Songs integral to the plays are known as ‘Kants’. Other songs, called kantaram are generally either comedic or based on topical, political and controversial issues that are interspersed through the performance. Besides the regular commercial shows, tiatrs are held as part of the celebrations of nearly every church and chapel feast in the State.
The Goa Kala Academy organises a state level Tiatr competition every year while the Tiatr Academy organises a Popular Tiatr competition for dramas which have exceeded 25 performances .
Prior to the emergence of tiatr, entertainment in Konkani was mainly through zagors and khells. Both of them had their distinct style. While the zagor was more lyrical, the khell had dialogues and while the former was more popular in Bardez, the latter was firmly entrenched in Salcete .
Costancio Lucasinho Caridade Ribeiro, more popularly known as Lucasinho Ribeiro, Passionate about the performing arts, he was highly impressed with the stylised Italian operas performed there. He took up a job for an Italian opera troupe which was touring Indian cities at the time, staging an opera called ‘Italian Boy’. When the troupe left India, Lucazinho Ribeiro bought the costumes used in the play with the intention of staging a Konkani play on the style of the Italian Opera. His collaborators in the effort were Caetaninho Fernandes ofTaleigao and João Agostinho Fernandes of Borda, Margao .
On 17 April 1892 the first tiatr performance ever, Italian Bhurgo, adapted from the Italian play, was staged at the New Alfred Theatre, Bombay. This day is celebrated as Tiatr Dis (Tiatr Day). Hence, the Goan art form of tiatr was the product of the meeting of Goan culture and the opera of Italy, which, incidentally is the birthplace of the opera, and the tiatr was born in Bombay. Since there were many different scenes in this tiatr and as it required different stage sets, they thought of dropping the curtain and introducing songs and dances in front of the curtain. This was needed to entertain the audience while the Stage Setting was being done behind the curtain. These songs and dances did not have any relevance to the theme of the play.
The first original tiatr script was written and directed by João Agostinho Fernandes, entitled Belle de Cavel or Sundori Cavelchi in 1895 in Bombay and for all his consistent devotion and encouragement over fifty years, he was conferred the title Pai Tiatrist (Father Tiatrist).