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New kid on the block

JP Pereira

Every now and then, a new talent emerges. At times, this happens at a very young age owing to the sincere performance of these new actors. Joyel Fernandes , from Maina, Curtorim is one such new comedian, who has made quite a mark on the Konkani stage.

 “I always wanted to be a part of the Konkani stage, even when studying at St Rita’s High School, Curtorim,” he confesses. “I was a regular in school performances as well as at the annual stage show that is organised by all tiatrists and amateurs in Maina, for the village feast.”

Indeed, Fernandes won many prizes for his performances in school. This was a boost for him. The support of his parents also helped a lot. In fact, his dad (Rocky Fernandes) loved tiatr and sang solos and duets, at times with professionals, for programmes organised in the village.

At the age of 12, Joyel was invited by Dada de Maina, to act in folk plays staged during the Carnival. Out of the three short plays he was part of, he did two comedy roles, which was much appreciated by the audience. Taking note of this response, the young boy decided to stick to comedy.

After performing with Dada de Maina for three years, he went on to perform for Anthony de Maina for two years. It was around this time that an offer came from Salvador Afonso to perform for the TAG Children’s Tiatr competition in the tiatr ‘Ugddasak’. Following the competition, the show was later staged in some villages. He also acted in ‘Money Is Not Everything’, by Jayson Afonso, another entry in the children’s tiatr competition.

In 2015, the young comedian was offered a role in an entry for ‘Ami Soglim Ek Zaunk Ieta?’ by Ronny Socorro Productions which was part of the A group, Kala Academy Tiatr Competition. It was here that he was noticed by Pascoal de Chicalim, who needed a comedian for his commercial tiatr ‘Devchar’. Fernandes made his debut in this show and his career began.

Fernandes continued acting with Pascoal de Chicalim for three more shows till directors Elvis-Carmen, booked him for their production ‘Mennache Paktte’. “Elvis sir taught me the finer nuances in acting and how to portray myself well. He is one of our best directors and knows exactly what he wants from his artistes. He helped me a lot to improvise,” Joyel says.

Besides this, he acted for other directors as well and substituted for other comedians, in plays by Ligorio Fernandes, Mini Mario, and Georgina Dias. When commercial tiatr beckoned, he had one wish – to act for Roseferns. This wish came true when the director offered this young comedian a role in his 94th production.

“After five years, this was a dream fulfilled. I play a major humorous role in the new tiatr ‘Eke Avoicho Anvddo’, by Roseferns sir and have received a good response from the audience,” he states.

Besides tiatr, Joyel has also performed on a DVD by Bonny Fernandes, titled ‘Maim’.

And while the comedian is certainly making headways into the tiatr world, Fernandes admits that he nearly gave up on tiatr awhile ago as the timings of his hospitality job used to clash with his tiatr timings. However as fate would have it, he lost his job after he fell ill and returned to tiatr, after he was better. “Now I want to stick to tiatr, as I enjoy this profession,” he says.

Fernandes feels that the audience should encourage new entrants on the Konkani stage be it a new director or actor, new musician or new comedian. “At times the audience supports only established actors. But, we also have talent. If this is appreciated it would be encouraging to the newcomers. Innovations on the stage and new ideas have to be developed,” he says and adds, “I thank God for this talent and opportunity to act and I will do my best to keep the audience amused.”

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