theatrists were a breed apart, their colorful presentations at the
Katrak Hall (in the Parsi compound in Depot Lines, Saddar), the KGA and
the Goan Union, were hilarious inasmuch as competitive. Each
theatrist would try to outwit the other, while at the same time
encouraging the musicians in 'the pit' to jam-it-up!
Every 'Theatr' composed of three or fours hours of pure Konkani
entertainment and Goan delicacies for sale during the intervals. The
day's program used to have a 2-act or 3-act play based on a common Goan
theme, issue or scandal. One that is recalled is "Afrika che Vaukaul".
The acts were interspersed with solos and duets, usually the female part
being played by a gruffly male in outfits of all colors!
My dad Policarpo was one of the theatrists and he had loads of
adversaries from rival 'koors' and from other stalwarts. Dad's topics
for his songs were outlandish inspirations from Regiments in South
Africa and the sun-kissed beaches of Spain to Pakistan's Hockey Gold at
the Mexico Olympics 1968, and though he was not a musician by any
chance, he hummed the tune a hundred times, added the words and voila...a
solo was ready!
Let me go back to the early sixties where the action at Katrak Hall - a
stone's throw from where we lived at 117 Depot Lines - is about to take
place, and the auditorium is packed to capacity, whistling and hooting a
part of the evening. Some names which my sister Fatima recalls are that
of Joaquim Barreto, Johnny Rod, Anthony Fernandes, Raymond Braganza,
Anthony Oliveira, Cajetan, Tellis and someone called 'Sorpotel Uncle' -
wow, what a cast!
The 'Theatr' gets underway...the play and solos are performed, some get
'encores' and some eggs but like the old adage says, the show goes on.
At interval time, there are skirmishes among rival groups but all in
good spirit (real spirits!) and the evening carries on...!
In 1975 Gregory Coutinho produced and directed "Africacho Nauro" staged
at the St Joseph's Convent Hall, with (Late) Carmen D'Silva, Gregory
Coutinho, Francis D'Silva, Lauretta Monterio nee D'Souza, Debbie
Santamaria nee Fernandes and Cajetan Pinto as the key performers.
The 1990s saw a number of performances, such as "Bebdo Gorka" in 1990,
"Goemcho Badkar" in 1992 and "Miracle of St. Anthony" in 1994, all of
them produced and directed by the versatile Bernard D'Souza. This band
of Konkani Theatr promoters introduced many talents, seasoned and
newcomers, which included, Francis D'Silva, Mathew D'Souza, Lawrence
Paul, Leugine Fernandes, Libby Fernandes, Lovita Fernandes, Bernard
D'Souza, Gregory Coutinho, Gertie D'Sliva, Arcanz Gonsalves, Melba
Pinto, Debbie Santamaria nee Fernandes; Clifford Fernandes, Dominic
D'Souza, Anthony Pinto, Peter & Agnes Almeida, Conrad D'Costa, Augustine
Fernandes, Nascimento Santamaria, Victor D'Lima, John Fernandes and Tony
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