Sunil Shanbag’s Arpana Theatre is bringing to life tiatr — a form of musical theatre that finds its roots in Goa — with its brand new production Loretta set in the 70s on a river island in Goa. About a widower Antonio Piedade Moraes, a bhatkaar (landlord), lives a rather comfortable life in his resplendent home, with much help from a lot of locals. Surrounded by bakers, gardeners, a Man Friday and a whole lot of others, Antonio, a great votary of the Konkani language, is rather protective of his island.
Sunil Shanbag says Loretta is inspired by tiatr and will see familial and social issues being dealt with in a manner that’s typical of the genre. Among the unique characteristics of the genre are the side shows. Typical of the theatre form, these shows happen at the front portion of the stage, traditionally giving those backstage some extra time to change props and backdrops. They provide a good measure of satire, something Shanbag intends to bank on while also recreating the ambience of a bygone era through its music. Even as they serve as a distraction for the audience, these shows often tackle important social issues in a thought-provoking, satirical manner.