Times of India | 6 days ago | 14-05-2022 | 01:57 am
Fr Nevel Gracias was truly one of a kind. The popular priest declared the title of his lenten tiatrs a year in advance, worked with a tight-knit group of just eight fiercely loyal artistes and wrote the script, comedy and lyrics of songs for all his tiatrs. As they say, he was a “one-man show”. Even when his leg was amputated in 2006 and he was confined to his hospital bed at the Goa Medical College (GMC), he ensured that his lenten tiatr saw the light of the day. “He took great care of everyone and managed the artistes very well,” said Rupesh Jogle, who directed the tiatr when Nevel was bed-ridden and eventually acted in almost 20 tiatrs penned by the priest. “Father’s speciality was working with a small group and getting them to do everything—biblical scenes, songs, normal roles. He would set the tiatr so well that nobody felt burdened with the roles that were assigned to them.” Unwell for a while now, Nevel passed away in his sleep on Thursday night. He was 58. “Sad and shocked to hear the sudden demise of Fr Neville Gracias. A great priest, a great actor, singer, composer, writer and director and above all a great friend and advisor. Menezes Theatre will always MISS YOU Father,” famed director Mario Menezes wrote in a post on social media. Born in Velim, Nevel joined the Rachol seminary in 1984 and was ordained a priest on April 30, 1991. He served in the parishes of Taleigao, Divar, Loutolim, Canacona, Utorda and Guirim. He chose the unique stage of tiatr to spread the “word of God”. For more than 20 years since 1997, his tiatrs during the 43-day lenten period were a major draw. “The tiatr medium is more powerful than preaching,” he once told TOI. “Tiatrs help send a powerful message across. It’s art in a visual form and that’s always hugely impactful.” Nevel staged all his tiatrs under the Vell’lekar Nirmiti banner and parted with profits, whatever little, for charity.