Despite the digital and celluloid revolution across the globe, Goans have remained loyal to the stage and Tiatr (Drama). Tiatr is still an integral part of Goan families, especially in South Goa. The drama industry is on the verge of decline from the country, but Tiatr is still going strong in Goa, all because of its loyal supporters.
Following this trend, the younger generation is also turning towards stage performances. This story of the Goan Talent Meena Goes is an excellent example of a young woman taking the Tiatr legacy forward.
Meena decided to start her career in theatre at a young age but could not pursue it due to the lack of guidance from the theatre field because of no connection or family reference in the area. When she finished her schooling she decided to venture into the field she was so passionate about. “After completing my 12th from Carmel College, I decided to pursue my dream career in the drama industry, especially Tiatr. But I had no family background, and so I decided to start working till the time I get the right opportunity,” she said. Adding to her, “While working, I joined the Institute of Theatre Art, run by famous Tiatrist Sharon Mozerello and did a 3-month course on stage and performing arts.”
Meena decided to join the Tiatr, and her association with Sharon gave her the opportunity to start working with various theatre production companies in Goa. She had always dreamt of becoming a Tiatrist right from a young age. “When I was young, I used to go to watch Tiatr with my family. It had a strong impact on me, and I decided that I will join the Tiatr Industry one day.” Her dream finally came true, as was able to successfully establish herself in the industry.
Meena’s journey reached its pinnacle in 2009 when she joined the Theatre Performing Art. “My first opportunity with renowned Tiatrist Milagres De Chandor kick-started my journey into this industry,” Meena shared. Although she had received her first big opportunity in Tiatr, the road ahead wasn’t easy, as she faces many challenges. One of the major problems was the lack of any connections or a godfather/mother in the Tiatr industry. “It was the first time for me, and everything was completely new. There was no friend circle or guide, but I was fortunate enough to have very supportive colleagues and director who became my mentor. He taught me the techniques to perform various characters with finesse and precision,” she narrated.
Another challenge Meena had to face when she entered the Tiatr Industry was singing. As Tiatr is a musical drama, one must know how to sing. Most youngsters who join this industry come from families of Tiatrist; but for Meena, this was an entirely a new world. She was the first generation in her family to enter Tiatr. “Singing was the main challenge before me without which I could not continue,” Meena said. She had to undergo intense training and practice in the art of singing, and with time she started improving. Presently Meena has reached a stage where she can do any role and sing relentlessly on the stage. To her, singing is more difficult than acting. According to her many people may be able to act but singing is an entirely different ball-game. One needs a lot of practice and dedication to learning the art of singing.
Unlike others, Meena has not received any professional training. It is her hard work and consistent practice that made her a good singer she is today. She is also working on a few films by local producers, as most Tiatrist do. Everyone eventually looks up to people who join the film industry. Meena gives a lot of the credit for her success to the famous Tiatrist and well-known personality in Goa – Mr John D’Silva who helped her get roles in regional films. “I do not have any such aspirations to go into films as I am quite happy doing Tiatr.” She mentions that there are not many opportunities in regional films and hence she accepts whatever comes her way. She does not go searching for roles.
Presently Meena is doing two plays, and as the season begins, she will have at least three different plays running across theatres. This means lots of practice and focuses in preparing for all 3 plays. Working in Tiatr does not give enough financial stability, at least not to newcomers. Having an alternate source of income, hence, is very important. Meena also works as a beautician when she is not acting. “The major challenge before us is to maintain a good balance between work and Tiatr. There are shows and practices, and due to that I need to get away from work, but my boss is very co-operative and supportive of this,” says Meena.
Meena has not yet penned-down any future plans, and she takes up things as they come. “I have support from my parents, and they are never against me working. But, they do not like me going out of Goa to learn new things. They are protective of me that way,” she confessed. Meena has recently featured in many leading publications of Goa including some mainline newspapers.
According to Meena, it is easier for people with a family background in the Tiatr industry for a smooth climb up the ladder in this field, as compared to a person like her who has none. “The level of difficulty is more compared to the people who have their parents working in this industry for a long time. The best way is to consistently learn and improve work and meet senior artists for guidance and direction,” says Meena.
Another issue that a female Tiatrist face is criticism and badmouthing from locals. Being a Tiatrist, the work involves late nights and even outdoor shoots. And because this schedule she hears a lot of criticism from the locals. But Meena doesn’t allow such things to affect her. According to her, as long as her family is supporting, she doesn’t have to worry about