The word 'Tiatr' came from the Portuguese language "TEATRO" which means Theatre. In the beginning it was also written as Teatro and not as Tiatr. Those Tiatr writers who had an English background they wrote it as "THEATRE" which was sometimes spelt as Theatr. It was only when Kala Academy of Goa started the Tiatr Festivals the amateur artistes who were more concerned with the development of the Tiatr Stage in all respects, stopped writing Teatro or Theatre and instead they Konkanised it as Tiatr. Today practically every Tiatr artiste writes it as Tiatr.
Tiatr is a unique form of dramatic art. It is unique because it cannot be considered a musical drama or a prose drama. It has music and singing but it is not a musical drama. Tiatr is more than being just a Folk Drama. The Tiatr has, prose as well as music and song. Hence it cannot be classified as a prose drama or a musical drama. The prose script of the tiatr, the plot or the storyline, is divided into six or seven Acts called 'Podd'dde'. In between these acts, there are two or three songs - Kantaram - which are not related to the plot/storyline of the play at all. Each song is composed on a different theme. Therefore if the plot of the play is based on a particular theme then it will have 12 to 14 songs based on various issues - social, political, religious, etc. Tiatr entwined with its prosaic element as well as its songs and music has no relevance to folk theatre or folk songs or folk music. On the contrary, it had a tremendous influence of the contemporary European theatre and music of that time. Hence tiatr gradually developed as a product of modern theatre - a fusion of modern prose and modern song and music of that time.
The plot of a Tiatr is normally divided into 6 or 7 parts, each part is called a "Pordho". In between these Pordhes there are songs which are called "Kantaram". Normally there are 2 or 3 Kantaram in between every two Pordhes. This means that there are at least 12 to 15 Kantaram in the Tiatr.
The uniqueness of the Tiatr lies in the fact that the story of the Tiatr is based on one particular theme whereas each Kantar is based on a different subject. Accordingly one particular subject is presented through the story of the Tiatr whereas 12 to 14 different subjects are tackled through 12 to 14 kantaram in the Tiatr. It is this aspect of the Tiatr that makes the Tiatr unique compared to other forms of dramatic art.
The history of Tiatr is long yet rich. As a unique art form, Tiatr, took birth in Mumbai back in the year 1892. A young man called Lucazinho Ribeiro hailing from Sokolwaddo, Assagao in Bardez Taluka can be called the innovator of the Tiatr because he along with Joao Agostinho Fernandes and others staged the first Tiatr performance on the occasion of Easter on 17th April, 1892. That was the beginning of the journey of Tiatr as more than just a mere folk drama. It was in 1974, that something very important took place in the field of Tiatr. For the first time the Kala Academy of Goa organised the 1st Tiatr Festival in May 1974. It is a known fact that Tiatr was performed and witnessed only by Christians. But Kala Academy's Tiatr Festivals changed this scenario and Tiatr gained popularity throughout. .
The structure of Tiatr is based on a good story line, attractive songs with pleasing music and on the comic elements. Stage Sets, Light Effects, Background music, acting etc also contours the structure of Tiatr whilst making it a matchless presentation of various types of Tiatr like Historical, Social ,Political and Religious.
Tiatr as an art form has always witnessed colossal alterations. During the last 34 years, numerous amateur artistes brought in numerous changes on the Tiatr stage.
Following is the list of changes that Tiatr witnessed
Undoubtedly the most popular dramatic form in Goa is the Tiatr. No feast, even in the small wards of the villages in Goa, could be complete without staging a Tiatr
Contributed by Tomazinho Cardozo