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A GIFT FROM THE QUEEN

In the spirit of our parish feast, the parishioners hosted a delightful 3-day fete. the celebration commenced with a week filled with exciting events. Prior to the 3-day fete, the youth presented a captivating documentary showcasing the beautiful attractions around the church. Day 1 unfolded with the initiation of "A Gift from the Queen" – a shadow play narrating the story of the Rosary. Here’s a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes journey of how this grand production unfolded.


Week 1: Setting the Stage


Our journey began with the finalization of the script in September. Week 1 was dedicated to sculpting the narrative—fine-tuning, cutting excess, and adding dialogues to ensure engagement.  Meanwhile, casting forms were dispatched, assembling a group of individuals enthusiastic about participating. In addition to assembling our cast, we worked on creating a preliminary draft that paired voices with shadows. This involved identifying actors whose voices suited particular roles and shadows that best represented the required characters. This meticulous planning set the stage for the subsequent weeks of intense preparation. In addition to assembling our cast, we worked on creating a preliminary draft that paired voices with shadows. This involved identifying actors whose voices suited particular roles and shadows that best represented the required characters. This meticulous planning set the stage for the subsequent weeks of intense preparation. To further enhance our understanding, we delved into the technical aspects, experimenting with a cloth and light to grasp the intricacies of shadow dynamics. This helped ensure that each shadow cast would deliver the desired visual impact on stage.



Week 2: Casting and Briefing

After reaching out to potential actors and voice artists and confirming their commitment, we officially kicked off our journey. The initial meeting was a crucial milestone, where we gathered our cast and briefed them on the entire story. This session provided a comprehensive understanding of their roles and set expectations for the upcoming weeks of intense practices. During this week, we also initiated the training of our voice artists. The goal was to immerse them in their characters, enabling them to feel the emotions behind the words and effectively convey them to the audience. In addition to voice training, we commenced practices without shadows. This approach provided a clearer understanding of the required actions for the actors, allowing them to familiarize themselves with the movements and gestures essential for their roles.



Week 3: Studio Recording and Audio Integration

In the third week, we had the voice artists come to the studio, where we recorded all voice artists using professional equipment. We recorded the smallest details too such as crowd murmurs and the chilling screams of children witnessing hell. The music was then integrated into this audio track. This week, our comprehensive audio track, a culmination of voices, sounds, and music, became the guiding force during rehearsals, allowing performers to synchronize with cues from either the music, narration, or dialogues. For instance, we had a soldier scene where all they had to do was march in and out, hence the reliance on music cues became particularly crucial for precise coordination. The production required manpower, although there were scenes as small as involving crowds walking in and out. While it might seem trivial to play such a small role, witnessing the grand picture of the entire play coming together highlighted the importance of even these seemingly minor contributions. To ensure efficient use of everyone's time, acts were carefully scheduled, with only specific scenes rehearsed on designated days.


Week 4: Apparitions and Costume Designing 

As we entered the fourth week, the spotlight shifted to the visual elements that would bring historical richness to our shadow play. We were involved in capturing the ethereal essence of the apparitions. The apparition scenes were shot separately and then integrated into the main audio and video track. This allowed us to create a reverse image, with the screen now in black and shadows in white, enhancing the visual impact and providing a celestial quality to Mary's presence. We also worked on the integration of backgrounds for the scenes. These backgrounds played a pivotal role in transporting our audience to different time periods, adding layers of authenticity and context to our narrative. The meticulous selection of backgrounds was essential to ensure a seamless blend with the diverse timelines depicted in our play. Simultaneously, the costume team worked diligently to design outfits that accurately represented the distinct fashion of each time period. This process demanded extensive research to maintain authenticity and immerse the audience in the historical context. Additionally, props were crafted to complement the scenes, contributing to the overall depth of our historical narrative.



Week 5: Putting it all Together 

This week, full-length rehearsals began, allowing us to fine-tune each act and ensure a smooth synchronization with the audio cues. This marked a crucial stage where the various components of our shadow play started coming together in harmony. In addition to full-length rehearsals, we conducted dress rehearsals that included props and costumes. This practical session aimed to understand the logistical aspects of our performance better. For instance, in the war scene, not only were the actors involved, but the backstage crew also played a crucial role in firing gunshots at each other and simulating collapses, all while ensuring everyone's safety. Two days before the main event, the actual screen was set up, and a run-through with the video track took place for the first time. This allowed the entire team, including the backstage crew, to understand the timing required for shifting props during the blank screens. The planning, dedication of our cast and crew, technical exploration, and guidance from our priests have come together to create a production that will go down in the history of Our Lady of the Rosary Church.



Now, let's hear from the key figures behind this remarkable production. Here’s an inside look into their experiences, challenges faced, and the creative process that brought "A Gift from the Queen" to life.


Daniel Dias, Scriptwriter and Producer:

What inspired you to choose the topic of the Rosary for the shadow play? How did the initial idea take shape?

“Having heard fragments of stories about the Rosary, from the apparitions to the feast of Our Lady, I realized the lack of a cohesive narrative. I knew about the feast of Our Lady's conception, about St. Dominic being given the rosary by Mary, but these narratives existed in bits and pieces. The idea took shape when I recognized the need for a sequential portrayal. With the approaching Rosary feast, I felt compelled to weave these narratives into a logical sequence, presenting them in a way that deeply resonates with the audience. I've always felt the power of the Rosary in my life and was hoping that the audience would feel it too.


You served as the scriptwriter as well. Can you share insights into the storytelling choices, and how you approached depicting complex narratives through shadows?

As the scriptwriter and artistic director, I aimed to make the play visually gripping and emotionally touching, turning the history of the Rosary into a captivating experience. The challenge involved condensing multiple stories into one cohesive timeline and deciding what to keep or cut. To keep things engaging, I added dialogues, steering away from monotony. Additionally, the music had to match the scenes and evoke the required emotions, along with ensuring that every background picture matched seamlessly with the given time frame.


Alicia Dias, Director

As the director of the shadow play, what unique challenges did you face in bringing the script to life through visual storytelling?


“Directing the voice was one of the most captivating aspects for me. I've always been intrigued by the power of the voice and the flexibility required as a voice artist. Often, we downplay the role of the voice, failing to recognize that it, combined with music, breathes life into a performance. Narrating a line isn't just about saying it; you have to feel the essence, immerse yourself in the character, in order to evoke the intended emotions in your audience. The historical scenes from past centuries demanded more than just a contemporary interpretation; they required a journey back in time. For instance, directing the Battle of Lepanto, which presented a unique challenge. Initially assuming they could simply keep shooting, I was struck with the realization that there were no rifle guns back then. To authentically recreate the scene, I had to transport myself to that era, to ensure historical accuracy. When it came to figures instrumental in perpetuating the rosary, such as St. Dominic and Blessed Alan, where no cinematic references existed, I had to rely on my own creativity. Even when directing the apparitions and guiding the kids to react as if they were truly seeing Mary during every practice, was a beautiful experience. 

Moreover, a shadow play is different from a normal play. It poses a challenge because in a traditional play, you can still look at facial expressions and subtle gestures. In a shadow play, everything has to be exaggerated, and through your body language alone, you have to convey your message. Besides conveying messages solely through body language, in a shadow play, you’re heavily relying on actions. I remember in our first practice, the actors were trying to act out every single word, and from their perspective, it makes sense. But when viewed from an audience perspective, it's distracting and takes away the main message trying to be conveyed. All of that had to be kept in mind. So, it was quite a unique experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed the creative process. 


Devotion to Mary has always been a personal inspiration. While many of us are taught to have a relationship with Jesus, I believe we often overlook the significance of cultivating a connection with Mary. I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Marian devotion in my life and the lives of those around me. If there's one thing I hope the audience took away from this, it's the invitation to develop a relationship with Mary. She hears, understands, and will always lead you to her son, Jesus.”


Clarissa Alphonso, Coordinator

Q: Managing the production must have been an intricate task. How did you coordinate the technical aspects, props, and actors to create a seamless performance?

We were accustomed to school plays and college performances, but this venture was an entirely different experience.  Coordinating the production was indeed a challenge, but it was a task I thoroughly enjoyed. Our director and producer provided clear guidance, knowing exactly what they wanted, yet remaining open to changes, fostering a collaborative team effort. Managing 50 actors, ensuring costumes and props, dealing with dropouts—all required strategic planning. Some actors dropped off, but with a personal touch, I managed to have some play double or triple roles. The artistic director's work, turning shadows into color, was truly remarkable. To ensure efficient time management for actors, I meticulously planned scenes, calling in specific actors for particular scenes on designated days. This strategic approach was essential for the smooth execution of the production. Teamwork was the key, and everyone proactively contributed to making it a success.


Shanti Monteiro, Head of the Costume Team

Recreating historical costumes must have been a fascinating task. How did you approach the challenge of dressing characters from different time periods?

“Recreating historical costumes proved to be a captivating yet challenging task. The internet became an invaluable resource, providing information and images to guide the process. When tasked with leading the team of costume artists, my joy was boundless. Despite initial challenges, my team and I transformed household articles into intricate outfits. I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to God's greater glory, and I appreciate the role my entire family played in this meaningful endeavor. Mother Mary has always had a special place in our hearts, and I truly thank God, for not only using me but my entire family for His greater Glory.”


Presented by the Parishioners of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Dockyard




Our heartfelt gratitude goes to:


Screenplay and Artistic Direction: Daniel Dias


Directed by: Alicia Dias


Production Coordinator: Clarissa Alphonso


Production Assistants:

Vilbert Dsouza, Tania Gomes, Shirley Castellino


Video Recording and Editing:

Ben Ridge Carvalho


Actors:

Mary: Selma Pulical

Lay People:

Sr. Florina Joseph SCN, Russell Castellino, Valentine De Souza

St. Dominic: Desmond Baptista

Bl. Alan: Joe D'cruz

Children with Roses:

Rebecca Castellino, Eleanor Braz, Kaitlyn Anthony, Kassandra Anthony, Olan Vaz, Angel Vaz, Jake Fernandes

Turkish Emperor: Merwyn D'mello

Turkish Soldiers:

Desmond Baptista, Gerald Anthony, Jocelyn Pereira, Bosco Monteiro, Melvin Lobo, Virendra Kanojia

Christian Soldiers:

Vilbert Dsouza, Christopher Coutinho, Marc Rebello, Rommel Castellino, Cayden Rodrigues

Pope: Joe D'cruz


​​Jubilant People:

Analisa Dmello, Caroline Pearl Pereira, Sherlyn Pereira

Sr. Florina Joseph SCN, Russell Castellino, Valentine De Souza


Bernadette: Rebecca Castellino

Sister: Eleanor Braz

Friend :Kaitlyn Anthony


Crowd Accompanying Bernadette:

Analisa Dmello, Caroline Pearl Pereira, Sherlyn Pereira, Sr. Florina Joseph SCN, Virendra Kanojia, Gerald Anthony


Crowd for Candlelight Procession:

Cayden Rodrigues, Vilbert Dsouza, Rommel Castellino, Marc Rebello, Christopher Coutinho, Lisann Dias, Shanti Monteiro, Seriya Pereira, Gwen Oliver, Irene Nazareth, Rochelle Baptista


Pope: Merwyn D'mello

Lucia: Rebecca Monteiro

Jacinta: Eleanor Braz

Francisco: Reuben Monteiro

Mayor: Jocelyn Pereira


Sun Miracle Crowd:

Analisa Dmello, Caroline Pereira, Sherlyn Pereira, Sr. Florina Joseph SCN, Virendra Kanojia, Gerald Anthony, Melvin Lobo


Pope John Paul II: Valentine De Souza


Pope's Secretary: Russell Castellino


Pope's Bodyguards:

Gerald Anthony, Bosco Monteiro


Shooter: Christopher Coutinho


Catholic Family:

Christopher Coutinho, Seriya Pereira, Jake Fernandes, Eleanor Braz


Audio Recording and Editing: Ben Ridge Carvalho


Voice Artists:

Narrator Act 1: Vilbert Dsouza

Narrator Act 2: Irma Braz

Narrator Act 3: Fatima Noronha

Narrator Act 4: Rochelle Baptista

Mary: Myrtle De Souza

Jesus: Fr. Nigel Barrett

St Dominic: Ben Ridge Carvalho

Turkish Emperor: Vilbert Dsouza

Pope: Daniel Dias

Christian Soldier: Rommel Castellino

Lucia: Eleanor Braz

Jacinta: Alicia Dias

Francisco: Ben Ridge Carvalho

Mayor: Vilbert Dsouza

Crowd: Tania Gomes, Ben Ridge Carvalho, Alicia Dias


Sound Mixing: Daniel Dias


Lighting: Everton Fernandes


Costume Team:

Shanti Monteiro, Seriya Pereira, Irene Nazareth, Gwen Oliver, Lisann Dias, Merwyn D'mello, Br. Edward Harris


Backstage Crew:

Tania Gomes, Shirley Castellino, Clarissa Alphonso, Lisann Dias


Backdrop Set Up:

Sailesh Kambli, Damaciano David Andrade


Special Thanks to:

Fr. Nigel Barrett, The CCC Recording Studio, Fr. Shavito Correia, Fr. Merwyn D'souza




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