The spirit of acting

‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’ director Alfwold Silveira returns with a new original gospel rock opera ‘‘AD 2019’’ which will have its first show on September 28 at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa

When ‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’ came out in 2013, people couldn’t get enough of it. With some great acting and fabulous original tunes, many audience members enthusiastically went for repeat shows of the gospel rock opera. And now director Alfwold Silveira is all set to give Goa yet another original piece as ‘‘AD 2019’’ will be staged for the first time on September 28 at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa. There will be a repeat show on the following day.

“‘‘AD 2019’’ begins where ‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’ ended with Jesus ascending into heaven. It tells the story of what happens thereon and of heaven, earth, and hell. Much of this is an imaginative perspective because no one has come back from heaven to tell me how it is there of course. It is all based on my own perception,” says Silveira.

Clarifying that this is not a sequel to ‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’, Silveira reveals that the plot for this story came to him after he had a medical episode a few weeks before ‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’ was first staged. “My platelet count had gone really low because of an adverse effect to some medication. It was a one in a million kind of case and had it not been for the grace of God I could have passed away. While I was then put on steroids I was energised all the time and it was then that the entire plot just flashed before me,” he says, adding that his inspiration for the piece has been The Holy Trinity. “Whenever I needed anything I usually used to just pray to Abba Father or Jesus now I include the Holy Spirit too,” he says.

The gospel opera which has a cast of 42 members, with around 10 members from ‘‘The Carpenter’s Cross’’, will once again have original songs. “We have 18 songs this time around with elements of hip hop and rap to give it a modern feel. There is also one tune done in reggae as it is a style that I am partial to,” says Silveira.

And the songs have been composed and set to music by different collaborators including Neil Fernandes from ‘‘The Coffee Cats’’ band and one by his own daughter Aditi Silveira. “I also teach theatre in college and one of my students Oswin Rodrigues also volunteered to write music for the opera,” says Silveira. “I also wanted some of Goa’s talented singers to be a part of the play and so we have Blasio Pinto, the lead singer of the band ‘‘Sky High’’ and Anica Noronha on board.” The music has been arranged by Alfin Fernandes.

The only setback, he says, was that the Kala Academy space was not available for staging the play. However, he says, the hall at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre is also amazing and much bigger too.

The staging of the play around this time is also significant. “The AD in the title stands for angels and demons and the piece also looks at the concept of angels in people’s minds today and how they get people to do what is good and right. With the Feast of Archangels being celebrated on September 29 followed by the Feast of Guardian Angels on October 2 it made sense to stage it at this time,” says Silveira.

“With the St Michael’s Church in Taleigao also celebrating 475 years, the parish is contemplating staging the gospel opera for St Michael’s Feast in October” he further says, while adding that they may do more shows in the future.

(‘‘AD 2019’’ will be staged on September 28 and September 29, 6:30 p.m. onwards at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa. Donation passes at `100 available at Champs, Furtado’’s, Pedro Fernandes and T-Centre)