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Somplolea Tiatristancho Ugdass/ Remembering Tiatr Artistes of Yester Years

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January 2012

TAG Remembered Mary Vaz, Alex Piedade, Tony Friend…..

‘Somplolea Tiatristancho Ugddas’, the monthly programme of Tiatr Academy of Goa (TAG) was held on 12th January 2012 at TAG’s Conference Hall, Campal Trade Centre, Campal, Panjim, Goa. The artistes of tiatr stage who were born in the month of January and who are no more living namely Mary Vaz (actor), Alex Piedade Fernandes (musician), Tony Friend (singer/actor), Sebastiao Gabriel D’Souza (writer/director), J.R.Fithna (writer/actor/singer) and Assis Joao Avelino Afonso alias Affonceka (writer/director/actor) were remembered in the programme.

Speaking on these personalities Shri. Tomazinho Cardozo, President of TAG highlighted the works of these late artistes. He mentioned that Sebastiao Gabriel D’Souza hailing from Aldona was one of the greatest tiatr artistes in the history of tiatr and was known to tiatr lovers as ‘Karachiwala’. He adapted Shakespeare’s numerous world classics to Konkani tiatr in the early years of the existence of tiatr like Hamlet, Winter’s Tale, Merchant of Venice, etc. It was evident from this that he was well educated. He also wrote his own tiatrs like ‘Carlos Magno’, ‘Kustoba’, etc. He was also an exemplary lyricist and also published his tiatrs and songs in book form like Pai Tiatrist Joao Agostinho Fernandes thus enriching the tiatr stage something which today’s tiatr artistes lack behind and should learn from such great artistes.

Assis Joao Avelino Afonso was known to people in the name of ‘Affonceka’. He too was born in Corjuem, Aldona. He was a great writer, director and actor who contributed immensely for the development of tiatr in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. He stepped on the tiatr stage at the age of 22 years in the tiatr ‘Maurice ani Juliana’. In a lead role in 1924 he wrote his first tiatr ‘Lawry ani Barina’. He also wrote ‘Lisboachem Sopon’.

Hailing from Raia J.R.Fithna was a handsome tiatr artiste who used to perform female roles with precision in the past. He was also a good composer, writer and director. He first came on the tiatr stage in the tiatr of Saib Rocha. Due to his feminine looks he was offered female roles which would envy many actresses of that time like Miss Carlota. He even went to pierce his ears so that he could wear earings as at that time one could not find clip-on earings. But as his age passed he started doing character roles. He almost acted in the tiatrs of all the well known tiatr directors of his times such as J. P. Souzalin, C. Alvares, Jacint Vaz, etc.

Amarald Minguel Antonio Fernandes popularly known as Tony Friend, was a superb singer with melodious voice and an actor who has influenced the tiatr audience in the past. Born in the picturesque village of Sancoale first came on the tiatr stage in a village tiatr. Thereafter professional tiatr artistes like Joao Inacio, Champion Peter introduced him in their tiatrs. He has also acted in the tiatrs of well-known directors like Airistides Dias, Prem Kumar, Robin Vaz, etc. Besides tiatrs, he has been phenomenal in Khells vo Zomnivoilo Khell. He was also a very good lyricist and was enriched by Goan Kantar with his valuable contribution. His songs are still aired on the All India Radio. He has to his credit more than 200 songs. He has also written and directed his own tiatrs ‘Bekar Empregad’, ‘Durdoxea’, etc.

Mary Vaz was an excellent character artiste who has performed numerous roles in almost all the tiatrs directed by stalwarts of Konkani stage including her husband Jacinto Vaz’s tiatrs ‘Gorvali’, ‘Dadagiri’, ‘Maim ani Sun’, etc. She has also acted in the tiatrs of Kid Boxer, C. Alvares, Alexinho de Candolim, etc. With the support of her tiatrist husband late Jacint Vaz, Mary Vaz came on the tiatr stage when it was difficult for girls women to step in this profession at that time.

Alex Piedade Fernandes popularly known as Mestri Alex has done a yeomen service to tiatrs by directing music of innumerable tiatrs in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Being a musician, he was not well known on the tiatr stage but among the tiatr artistes he was very popular and no tiatr at that time went on to be staged without the music of the kantaram written by Alex Mestri. Before stepping on the tiatr arena Alex Mestri excelled as a choir master in the Nuvem Church for almost 10 years.

Prominent among those whose spoke on the occasion were Jessie Dias, Filipe Pereira, Rafael Pereira and Agnelo Fernandes, son of Alex Mestri. Socoro de Santa Cruz and A Friend beautifully rendered songs of these late artistes and kept the audience lively.

Earlier Shri. Tomazinho Cardozo, President of TAG welcomed the audience and later Shri. Victor de Sa, Member Secretary of TAG proposed a vote of thanks. Shri. Joy Fernandes compered the function.

 Victor de Sa
Member Secretary


Grand daughter of Mary vaz accepting a memento from Tomazinho Cardozo President, TAG
Tiatr Artiste Jessie Dias speaking on the Occassion


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