Listen to article

Clarion Chukwurah requires little or no introduction. For close to three decades she has continued to rank among the leading thespians in the land.

The graceful, gifted actress' continued relevance in the industry has been traced to talent, training, discipline and dedication to the calling that has brought her fame and fortune.

Her acting talents, training and dedication came to the fore in her translation of the role of King Omajuwa in Fred Agbeyegbe's The King Must Dance Naked.

"I rehearsed for three months by screaming against the waves at the shore of the sea in Badagry Beach. That wasn't all; I had to take wine, honey and bitter kola so as to make my voice sound husky like that of a man that I was playing," she recalled.

The character King Omajuwa is, in truth, a woman, but deceives her people for so long by telling them that she is a man until the bubble bursts.

Tough as interpreting the role may have been for her, it is interesting that that was not her first challenging performance on stage. Clarion, who as a young belle, fell for the charms of a young Juju musician Shina Peters on the set of one of the early Nigerian films shot on celuloid titled Money Power said: "The role of King Omajuwa would rank as my second most challenging role on stage."

According to her, "My foremost was playing the character of Moji in Wole Soyinka's Camwood on the Leaves. Those who have been on stage would tell you what it takes to do so commendably; much more in a Wole Soyinka play."

Meanwhile, one issue that has refused to go away is her liaison with Afro-Juju creator, Shina Peters, which produced a child they named Clarence. A lot has been written about the romance and the state of things between Sir Shina Peters and the actress.

Nevertheless, she said, "Shina Peters is my friend and will remain so. The fact is, what people don't understand is the public presentation of Shina and I is different from the kind of relationship that exists between us.

"My son is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me; for Shina to give me Clarence, Shina Peters will always be my friend," declared the beauty who played four different roles in the stage adaptation of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, at the Royal Court Theatre, East London back in 1997.

However, for all she has put into the art of interpreting scripts be it on stage or screen, she declared that "I'm not a rich person but comfortable."

Really, since her sterling performance in Money Power in the early 1980s, she has never looked back. She is one of the few stage actors who successfully crossed over and became instant stars at the advent of the home video industry in the country.

Before then, she had become a household name with television viewers when the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was very popular with television soaps. Many such fans still recall her role as Tinu in the rested television drama, Mirror In The Sun, with fondness.

Many years after, her face is still as popular with Nollywood movie buffs as with their Yoruba sector counterparts. She traced her staying power to talent, training and dedication to her calling. She also added that she has been able to remain attractive and radiant because her training impressed the need to take care of her body mind and soul on her.

"I don't know what obtains today in acting training schools, but in my time, training included physicals among others; so as a professional I don't neglect taking good care of my body. Perhaps that explains my looks," she said.

She named her role as Princess Efuru in Egg of Life as perhaps her most challenging movie role and said she is not ready to fizzle out of the acting world. "I will continue to act for as long as God gives me the grace,"

There is no doubting the fact that she will continue to remain a face to reckon with in the movie industry.