Paul Adams: The actor tell his story at 60
The reality in the Nigerian acting skies is that every top actor has his or her time and should make the best of that time, because the moment that time zooms past, his or her relevance also zooms out.
But there are only a finger-countable number of Nigerian screen actors that have remained relevant in the scheme of things, or if you like, timeless.
Edo State-born actor, graphic artist, show host and content producer, Paul Adams, is one of them.
Thirty years on screen and stage and Paul Adams has continued to be relevant to acting in Nigeria as butter is to bread.
The very personable actor of vast credit clocks 60 on Saturday, January 28, and to commemorate his attainment of that golden age plus 10, friends, family members and colleagues in the entertainment industry would converge on the grounds of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, where the tall, dark and handsome actor intends to celebrate what he has termed a ‘delightful attainment,’ shortly before the last run of the stage play, Itan, where he is features as a lead actor.
The train would then proceed to the Guiding Light Assembly in Parkview Estate, Ikoyi on Sunday, January 29 for a special thanksgiving service to mark the day.
He spoke on his career and this attainment.
How does it feel to be 60?
Clocking 60 is actually more of a delightful attainment for me more than anything else. It is an age I believe everybody in life hopes to attain and surpass.
It gives me some feeling of achievement, so to say, especially against the backdrop of people one knows would have given anything to attain this age, but didn’t make it.
That gives room for plenty of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for His mercy and faithfulness. Wow! That is kind of exciting. I truly feel good. Crossing over from one decade to another for me feels like I am being given a fresh lease of life. Only difference is figures that are counting.
But as they say, age is just a matter of figures. How one feels even at 70 or 80 is what counts. For me really, I feel younger than 60 and that gives me a bit of thrill.
You have also committed 30 years on stage and screen. Tell us how it all started for you?
Indeed, 30 years in any profession is having come a long way. For me, acting started from way back in my childhood days when as children, we were taken to the then NTS (Nigerian Television Service) now NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) to act kiddies plays.
It graduated into me being a part of the drama groups in the institutions that I attended. Professionally, however, it started with a major church drama that I acted titled, Jesus the Light of the World, directed by Ime James.
My friend, Patrick Doyle, had come to see the play and was full of commendation for my performance. He, therefore, linked me up to Zeb Ejiro, the producer of the mega-hit series, Ripples, which just concluded auditioning. However, I got a role and thus started my journey into the world of make believe, professional acting.
I went on from there to secure a prominent role in the next big series, Checkmate, produced by Amaka Igwe of blessed memory. Thereafter, it was a series of various other soap operas and then Nollywood was born.
It, however, took me a while to embrace acting as a profession, because at that time, it was more of a hobby for me than a profession.
Then, I had come into journalism as an illustrator with Newswatch magazine. I later journeyed from one news magazine to the other until I ended up with Vanguard newspaper, from where I retired after 10 years meritorious service as the Cartoon Editor, to produce my first movie, Shackles.
Was acting what you wanted to do all along and who were your role models?
I actually studied Graphic Designs at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, but I guess invariably my passion for drama was much more intense than for what I studied.
Role models back then will include on the local scene, Funso Adeolu (Chief Eleyinmi), Dejumo Lewis (Kabiyesi, Oba Oloja of Oja), Femi Robinson (the Headmaster) and all the rest of the cast.
On the foreign scene, you had the likes of Roy Rogers, the Cartright Family of Bonanza and many more. I feel so nostalgic remembering those names.
But Inspiration then had been both local and foreign programmes
What are the pains and gains of being an entertainer?
Sincerely, being an entertainer and invariably a celebrity actually translates to losing your rights to certain levels of privacy. You kind of become public property. Your business is everybody’s business.
On the other hand, your celebrity status tends to make you favoured. It kind of opens impossible doors, amongst other benefits.
At a point in your career, you insisted on taking part in only gospel themed movies?
Yes, and we must understand that I came into the industry as a Christian with very strict outlook to matters of the gospel.
As a matter of fact, acting to me is a fulfillment of God’s promise, which is that all other things shall be added unto me if I seek first the kingdom of God.
So, from the onset, I tended to see acting more as ministry than as profession. This kind of mindset helped to shape and form the kind of roles I accepted, including a major product endorsement, which I had to turn down.
Which of your stage and screen productions would you describe as memorable?
There are many, but I will readily remember acting in Jesus, Light of the World; Ajanaku; The Dance of the Maidens; The Gods Are Not To Blame; Waka the Musical; Itan the Story; Checkmate; Magnate; Jaded Option; Rituals; Shackles; Tomi’s Got a Gun; among others.
I wrote and produced Shackles in 1999 and it was both exciting and rewarding, but quite challenging to experience what it took to produce a movie.
I had gone on to produce about 50 episodes of a serial, Lifestyle in 2007, which aired mainly on African Magic and some local stations.
In 2014, I produced NESREA WATCH, a 13-episode series an advocacy on the environment, for the National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency.
What do you do to look fit and trim and ‘youngish’?
Well, I can only say that my ‘youngish’ look is purely by the grace of God, no more, no less.
However, I am naturally not given to much eating. I love to devour a good meal when I see one, but I am hardly given to overeating.
I am actually just beginning to adjust to taking breakfast due to doctor’s advice. I am hardly hungry in the mornings.
Besides, I am some sort of an exercise buff. Not as if I am consistent though, but probably I owe it also to being a former active athlete. Whichever way, constant light exercises are profitable.
What was growing up like and how is your family doing?
Growing up was great fun, as a lot of the presence of the good side of British rule was still very much prevalent in society, such as order, discipline, peace, security, good environmental ethics, organisd transportation, mega super stores and plenty of good places to visit as a family and so much more.
As for family, Paul Adams is happily blessed. My daughter, Jewel, who lives in Maryland, United States, is not related to acting. She might develop interest later, but right now, no way.
So what is the future for Paul Adams?
Well, until we die, we must constantly be productive, exploring and embarking on new ventures, constantly dreaming of new horizons to capture.
You probably will find it a bit offside if I said that professional acting has been a distraction. But that is true, because what I believe I truly have a passion for more than anything else is music.
I have been in and out of recording studios since 1986 or thereabout. Needless to say I will be releasing my first single sometime in this first quarter. So, there you go…
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