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Girl child takes centre stage

‘Rise and Die’, an operetta by the Sisters of the Handmaids of Christ which drew attention to the plight of the girl child, was staged recently at different locations in Goa. Fr Victor Ferrao (Rachol Seminary) shares his thoughts on it

Story: #TGLIFE | 11th May 2018, 02:44 Hrs

Rise and Die, an operetta produced by the Sisters of the Handmaids of Christ, scripted and directed by Rev. Dr Allan Tavares, SFX, and recently staged in Calangute, Margao and Panaji, was a delight to the eyes, sweet music to the ears and insight to the mind.   

The mood captivating scenes and performances in song, dance and dialogue set a heart rendering narrative plot in front of the audience to perfection. The lights, sounds, music and angelic voices blended beautifully. The narrators became actors and actors retuned as narrators.  

The show artfully crossed boundaries between action and dance without taking our attention away from the main actors in whose background the children put up dance or played games. It all looked natural and not staged as one scene flowed into the other. The background curtain doubled up as a screen that dished out cinematic clips and images that would take the plot to its depths and heights creating an atmosphere of exuberant infotainment.

It had the spiritual merging beautifully with the social side of life as it carefully portrayed the plight of girl child entangled in a patriarchal and caste laden world.  

The operetta depicted the holy life of Fr Herculano Gonsalves and was presented on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary. Fr Gonslaves has the distinction of founding the congregation - The Sisters of Handmaids of Christ. It was indeed a fitting tribute to a great man of God who gave his all for the emancipation of the girl child of his time and founded a society of religious women to continue the noble mission.  

Fr Allan rolled out and directed a powerful script while Fr Bolmax Periera shone as Fr Gonsalves and took the audience to a theatrical ecstasy. The work of the composers and the arrangers (Rabin D’Pietro, Terryll Coutinho, Fr Bolmax Pereira and Kate D’souza) set the atmospherics for the scenes. The other members of the cast put up a great show of their talent. The choreographers and the stage mangers brought life to the operetta through their dynamic labours.  

The stage set-ups, props and video productions that adorned the stage beautifully and enhanced the performance as well as the presentation of operetta tell us that all of it was a fruit of tireless labour. The videos that sharpened the narrative plot were produced by Sr Sunita Barreto.

The credit of the entire show goes to the Handmaids of Christ, particularly to the team that coordinated the production  –Sr Bernadette Furtado, Sr Dorothy D’souza and Sr Magdalina Silveira . When asked about the tremendous success of the show Sr. Bernadette humbly said, “I give credit to God. God brings out the best in us in spite of our weaknesses.”  

The operetta in a very real way, was a look back into the heroic life of Fr Gonsalves. It set the audience thinking and nurtured a desire to go into the depths of life and ministry of Fr Gonsalves so as to reach out to the girl child who is facing rape, murder and other indignities in our country.  

Anzisha Kandolkar, one of the actors in the operetta says, “Being part of the musical drama has brought me even closer to an extra-ordinary and saintly visionary of Fr Gonsalves who saw ahead of his time and was valiant enough to recognise and rectify what was wrong in the society of his time. He inspires us to continue making the world beautiful by working for the dignity of the girl child.”  

Another actor, Zeeba Tiegel, said, “Rejuvenated and moved by this experience, I wish to inch closer to the dream every woman in India sees and give my mite to the empowerment of the girl child in our society”. “Rise and Die is a dream come true and we have debts to pay to our God, founding Father Gonsalves, sisters of our congregation, production team, actors, musicians and most of all to Fr Allan, who set our dream into actuality,” says Sr Faria, Superior General. 

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