Tiatr - Hello Uncle
7th October 2023

Rahila Rebello

Our memories of attending a tiatr revolve around whether after a mass in Goa, or in the ubiquitous village fields, there would be huge crowd of excited locals gathered and one could hear the beautiful lilt of Konkani emanating from the loudspeakers installed near a well-lit stage. And the energy would draw one in... and soon one was enraptured by the melodrama of a play interspersed with an event filled storyline abounding with comedy, punchlines and beautiful Konkani music. In a city not quite so balmy - Bangalore, paddy fields a distant dream and a thing of the past in this now madly metropolitan city, the Karnataka Goan Association has organised an award-winning troop to perform a tiatr here. And for this, I have to set out. I soon find myself in St. Josephs Boys High School. I enter the auditorium to find a dignified audience seated, eagerly waiting for the show to start. When the first notes of the 6-piece band (Yes, 6-PIECE!) burst through the air, I immediately get reminded that just as how the sun shines very differently when one crosses the border of Goa, so too music sounds very appealing when a Goan plays it! The robust, ripe and melodious sound from a live band for a big production. Time to savor it.

Tomazinho Cardozo's “Hello Uncle” is an award-winning and painstaking made production – a labour of love, I could say. The show itself was entertaining and fabulous. I will not get into details of the plot, with its numerous twists and turns that go along with its farcical storyline. Telling you more about the story about three siblings who comically take financial advantage of an uncle (and aunt) based in the UK would be giving the plot and creativity away. But I can say there they were superb actors taking on different roles, the humor, the melodrama. Terrific performance by many cast members including the youngsters who took on multiple roles including a cross dresser, and the hilarious neighbour “Rony”. What also made this tiatr special was the tasteful yet extravagant costumes, along with excellent make-up effects and props. Konkani is such an expressive and sweet-sounding language, it lends itself and completely complements the story-line and songs of a tiatr. It was a treat and privilege to the senses.

At the end of the show, if I have to encapsulate what the evening was like, all I can say is that I was transported to Goa for those three hours. The tiatr reminded me of our roots, our rich culture, our beautiful language, the characters we meet there - and in a lighter vein, can I dare say the play was like the cashew fruit? Fragrant, juicy, colourful, rich, sweet and bursting with flavour.