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I Want to Get Closer.



“I Want to Get Closer.”


Zakiya Iman Markland

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre and Dance (Acting)

University of California, San Diego, 2016

Professor Gregory Wallace, Chair

I became into a body that attracted more attention than my mind. I developed inseparably from a physique that betrayed who I was inside. Inside a battered ego sprawled its limbs out for eternal embrace: validate me. If at birth my mother named me Intelligent, how then did I view my knowing as primitive, stupid? Nancy Drew-ing this alone failed to free me, so creating inner confidence as artist became my purpose. Out I journeyed into the pockets of Galbraith Hall where I worked so hard that all you could see in my work was work-ing, effort-ing. But confidence is not work alone -not a mere creation. It’s self-possession,

something you already are. How ironic was it then that my final role at UCSD, Princess Conti, demanded from me just that? I mean, you can’t rule a nation that speaks in rhyming couplets whilst strutting -no, gliding- across a room in 6’’ crystal-encrusted heels without knowing first-hand that everything you are, do and know is The Shit. Princess Conti was the definition of self-possession for me.

In and out I was sensei, was senseid as I said “how do I be her without forcing her?” Use the text as power, breath and thought as inspiration; listen to play and play to receive, but, most importantly, believe. I believed. Still, in and out I was senseid; schooled by an art that requires years more of mastery.

How far I’ve come. How much farther I have to go.

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