TIATR : MIRROR OF
GOA'S CULTURE - The Konkani tiatr, a
dramatic art form, unique to Goa has flourished and thrived for over a
hundred years. Tiatr has been sustained entirely by popular support as
it has never been extended any patronage and help either by the
Portuguese colonial regime or successive governments in post liberation
Tiatr shows are
invariably housefull particularly when a new tiatr is launched. Tiatrist
have achieved a high degree of professionalism in recent years with
elaborate sets, lighting and other technical aspects. But the success of
the tiatr is mainly due to the fact that the themes chosen are topical
What distinguishes the
tiatr from other dramatic forms, is the songs on topical, burning,
controversial issues that are interspersed through the performance.
These musical interludes which are very satirical are independent of the
main theme of the play. The songs are irreverent and gently or at times
even savagely poke fun at the government.
Konkani tiatrist have
been unsparing of public authorities and have consistently exposed their
follies and subjected them mercilessly to ridicule. While tiatr has
always relied a great deal on satire, it has most of the time been
clean, good fun and there is almost never any malice.
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.
Tiatrs have focused on
the drug problem, alchoholism, the false sense of values of Goans who
strike it rich in the Gulf, the fall in values that lead to the neglect
of parents, the problems of inter-caste marriage and the like.
There is a very
healthy sense of irreverence in the themes and the dialogues in tiatr
and the high and mighty including ministers and even priests. The tiatr
as a dramatic form has been traditionally the exclusive preserve of the
Tiatrists come from
all sections of society. Besides the regular commercial shows, tiatrs
are invariably held to commemorate every church and chapel feast in the
Though a popular
entertainment form, tiatrs have always catered to the family. Though the
dialogue can be very earthy it has none of bawdiness of the Marathi
tamasha, which it resembles in many ways.
Even the harshest
critics of tiatr acknowledge that it was this dramatic form which kept
the Konkani language alive during Portuguese colonial rule, when Konkani
was suppressed. Tiatrists played a major role in the struggle to make
Konkani the officials language of the State.
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