Popular actress, Patience Ozokwor, aka Mama G, is undisputedly one of the best that the screen has seen in recent times. She speaks with TOFARATI IGE on her career, marriage and other issues concerning her life.
She was frequently asked why she was involved in radio drama at a point in her career and how it differs from other forms of drama.
Then she said that it was the in-thing at that time. One doesn’t know anything beyond what is happening around and presented to one. They were all instruments that God used to help me. If you’re able to do anything on radio, it would be easier for you to perform on television because on radio, you have to project everything that is needed as regards emotion. If you are angry, it is through your voice that people would know that. And if you are happy, it is through your voice that people would know as well because they can’t see you. If you can act on radio where nobody is seeing you, then, it would be easier for you to excel on TV. The body movements on TV help you to pass your message across because the viewers can easily see the emotions in your demeanour. It is usually good to start from radio so that it will help you build your delivery and other elements necessary for you to succeed as an actor.
You were also part of a NTA drama titled, Someone Cares. In what ways did that experience impact on your career?
She replied and said “it was my first TV drama. I am not a nervous person; so, I wasn’t jittery when I was on set. I already killed nervousness when I was doing stage plays. I started featuring in stage productions when I was in secondary school. Some of the plays I did then were The gods are not to blame and The Marriage of Anansewa, among others. Whenever we had competitions of arts and culture, my school always came out tops because we had a very good English Language teacher. Back then, we were honoured with little gifts such as plastic buckets, which were not so common then.
Meanwhile, by the time I took part in the NTA drama, I was a staff member of Radio Nigeria, as a broadcaster and announcer. So, I already knew the rudiments of the profession.
I didn’t even see it as doing something special. I was just doing what I was supposed to do and it came out fine.
You have a rich acting background having traversed various areas of the profession. At what point did you first know that you wanted to become an actress?
I never knew that there was anything like stardom. On radio, I was just acting a role and people didn’t even know my face. At that time, I just did what I thought I was enjoying without knowing where I was going. I wasn’t doing it with the hope of becoming a star. Does that make sense to you?
The young ones now will tell you to make them stars. Back then, we didn’t know that; we were just doing what we enjoyed.
Can you recall some of the first movies you acted in?
There was an epic movie we shot back then titled, Sins of the Father. That was the first movie I acted in before God took me to other productions in Enugu. I started working in Enugu and I am still based there. It wasn’t a major role and the character I played died in the process of child bearing. It wasn’t a big role but it was significant to the plot of the story.
Do you sometimes regret acting ‘wicked’ roles in movies?
Any actor worth his salt should be able to deliver on whatever role he or she is given to play. For people to be so affected by the roles I have played means that I did a good job in interpreting the characters I was given.
What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
Many of them, these days, are only in it for the fame and fortune; and that’s not good enough. If you go into acting with the intention of becoming wealthy and famous instantly, you would be highly disappointed. You have to love the craft and put in your best at all times. Continually improve on your talent and never settle for less.