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The Truth About ‘My First Love’- Simon Gonsalves

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

‘My First Love’, a drama by London-based star Simon Gonsalves was staged to a packed audience in Kuwait over the weekend at SIMS auditorium, Salmiya - 13th Sept 2019.
It was great to see a full house, and a pleasure to see the ‘late-comers’ made to stand.

With a cast of select artistes mainly from London, Simon Gonsalves was able to open up wounds of first-love of many - in an entertaining show although it was the comedy that dominated and brought about thunders of laughter and applause.

Simon Gonsalves presentations are always admired for his stagecraft. His legacy as a king of ‘scene-sceneries’ was reinforced once again, Simon’s efforts certainly go a long way to prove his creativeness.

Some of the amazing ‘sceneries’ shown in the drama such as a ‘bleeding heart’, a lake full of fish, swans, crocodile, and even a kingfisher, a ‘book’ opening itself, etc, conquered people’s hearts and imagination even though the execution was not as much to perfection.

And the smartness, with which the play is written on an ‘immaculate’ subject and supported by solid performances, was marvelous too.

Everyone could see the efforts put up by the director in fine-tuning the artistes, script, and managing the stage-sets to the optimum detail.

The standard was there for all to see.

Weaved with 'cantos', the main cast of the play was shouldered upon well-known stars such as Mathew Araujo, Joicelan Furtado, Bunty Vaz, etc.

Young Nyla Rodrigues in the role of the lead heroine was hot and stunning in her presence, costumes, and dialogues.

Simon Gonsalves played a stellar role himself, the director is known to regale himself with chameleon type ability, losing himself in roles that he plays.
Kuwait’s ex-star Laurente Pereira played a small part.

Angela Gonsalves had a pretty good share of acting in the drama - with dual roles – which is a great opportunity for any artiste to shine. She may not have touched the mercury level but certainly did her part well all the same.

Comedians Agostinho Themudo, Selvy and Janet were in a great mood every sideshow.

A general view at how love’s most unlikely possibilities can actually occur and the mysterious fate they can bring to one’s life is well depicted in the story.

The first-half of ‘My First Love’ is highly capturing with young, handsome Bunty Vaz dazzling in his act and dialogues along with some sensational ‘acting’ by Nyla Rodrigues.

Both the young stars’ stage presence and facial expressions were remarkable in playing ‘lovers’.

Everyone expected the second half to be equally good. But the script took a contrasting twist of ‘another love’.

It was like a ‘tale of two cities’ and ended with a ‘heart-break’ for most audience who craved to see a ‘happy ending’ of the ‘first-half’ love.

Bunty’s performance was a touch of class, and his presence on stage, a ‘beauty’. His portrayal of an estranged lover was akin to a Shakespearian novel.

Joicelan Furtado did his regular act, nothing extraordinary. With the confidence that he has on stage, the actor can rise to heights.

Mathew Araujo, popular for playing daring roles, benchmarked his international return after a long time. He was too much of a ‘roar’ all through and his ‘tiatrist’ style of dialogue delivery lacked natural flair.

Costumes are a fabulous part of any tiatr – they help tell the story, they help actors get into character, and they immediately tell the audience something about what’s going on.
Costumes worn by some of the artistes, especially in the second half were dull except for the bright umbrella used by Simon and the beautiful ‘starry-night’ pordho.

The songs, a taste of the audience, were on varied subjects.
Laurente Pereira and Bab Agnel had splendid solos but appeared too excited on stage.
Laurente’s song ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ was powerfully sung.
Bab Agnel’s song on the latest topic of internet viral sensation and railway station singer Ranu Mandal – was well sung but on a bit faster tempo.
Simran Vaz, and little Swizel (comedian Janet’s daughter) were fluent in their solos. Simran’s voice modulation was excellent, and the tune of her solo was unique and melodious.
Simran and sister Shanisha too had a wonderful song blended with nice voices.
Abel Costa’s song towards the end was pleasing to hear, the singer has a beautiful voice, and sang in a relaxed, composed manner. Perhaps the tune was such.
The opening ‘chorus’ was sung by Joicelan and Nyla. There was a trio by Joicelan-Bunty-Laurente that was fluently sung, and other songs as well.
One of the best songs of the show, however, was by director Simon Gonsalves. His song about the different phases of ‘pordhe’ in a drama was explained nicely in detail in a fantastic singing style, composition, and tune – a subject perhaps never before taken up by any ‘tiatrist’.
Simon used the ‘ghorabo’, ‘roadscene’ and ‘sideshow’ backdrops for each verse.
As expected Francis de Tuem topped the ‘encore’ tally with 2 aggressive anti-government solos. Tuem was so agitated on stage, am sure he would have shot one of the Goan MLAs if he was given a gun.
Tuem’s popularity in Kuwait is such that the audience is well aware of his intro tunes and begin applauding and whistling even before he enters the stage.
Songs by all the artistes were interesting. The drama probably lacked a couple of more ‘cantos’ of quality.

The combination of Comedian Agostinho, Janet and Selvy is one of the best on Konkani stage.
No wonder they have a huge fan following. Audience looking for hilarious, probably R-rated comedy, are never disappointed. The threesome always deliver. The trick is, these 3 comedians leave the audience hungry for more; that’s one reason they are the ‘most wanted’ comedians around.
It was certainly the comedy that brought a change of mind to the Kuwait audience who are otherwise stressed out in a harsh environment of ‘work and climate’ with little or no entertainment (or drinks unlike Dubai, Bahrain or London).
There was one particular woman in the audience who was heard laughing sweet laughter even when the comedians did not speak a word, which squeezed out even more laughter around.

Music for the drama was directed by graceful trumpeter Ramiro Mascarenhas along with Kuwait’s famous musician Shahu Almeida.
Tony Fernandes on drums and Dennis Gonsalves (bass guitar) completed the band.
Congratulations to Simon Gonsalves, and to all the artistes, singers and support staff including the humble ‘Lightman from London’ Greg Carvalho.
The sound system was super. Except for drummer Tony’s special effects on the drum which sounded like ‘gunshots’ at times, no one complained.

Anthony de Varca (Dubai) deserves a pat on the back for organizing the drama in Kuwait along with his friends in Kuwait especially Felix Fernandes, Nicholas Rodrigues, Nazi, etc.

All applause to the director for a great show which is surely in par with high standards.

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