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CHICAGO - Teenager, eighties Malik was very difficult to hide his Muslim heritage.
While some girls of her age has chosen to wear the traditional veil, she opted against it. And when teachers read "Octogenarian" the roll call on the first day of school, she asked them to call his Mariam, she less Muslim and his middle name.
Unable to hide his caramel skin or to overcome his shyness, actress budding and playwright did not audition for a role until his senior year at Niles North High School. She was shocked when she landed the lead.
But what was once a source of shame in his young mind became the inspiration. After putting his trade pending for almost two decades, solo Malik breakout show, "Unveiling", positioned her as one of the increase in the theatre of Chicago stars, critics say.
"When I was teenager, I thought that my color, my religion, my heritage, would prevent me being part of the experience of American Theatre," said Malik, now 34, and a mother of four children. "Now, young Muslims ask me the same things that I used to ask me:" A Muslim can be a theatre artist? ' ". I tell them... "Focus on your business and leave the rest to God." "
As the American Muslim community faces a review plus - hearings on the Capitol Hill hostile neighbours who do not want their nearby worship - Malik builds confidence that it has acquired high school to put aside his self-awareness to realize his dream.
In June, the Goodman Theatre will host a reading of his new play, "The tales of the Mecca", a script commissioned by the Goodman that examines why five Muslim women have decided to make both pilgrimage to Mecca at the moment in their lives.
In addition, his play "Unveiling," about five Muslim women fictive who find their face when inner strength, prejudice and pressure after the terrorist attacks of September 11 was transposed to the public in France, where the wearing of Muslim headscarves have been banned for women working in the public sector.
"Muslims are human beings, they are like everyone else," she said. "I want my writing to show that."
Born in London, Malik moved to Skokie, Illinois and enrolled at Niles North in its first year. She took all the varieties of theatre courses, write poetry and plays, but she has never auditioned for a role acting until his senior year. She decided to audition for a role in a production of the 18th century British "She Stoops to conquer" comedy after a classmate said that the casting of the piece must be white. This comment led to him prove otherwise. She obtained the lead.
She said "I couldn't let break me this statement,". "Theater is a medium who is color blind." I got the lead. It was a sweet victory. »
Drama Professor Timothy Ortmann, who called his former student at the stage of the Niles North in April, watched Malik coming out of his shell in the beginning of the 1990s. Still, he slips and calls its Mariam and recalled the young artist struggles with its identity.
"The magic of the theatre is you can really try on a lot of different masks very quickly and discover things about yourself", he said. "You learn a lot about yourself do seem to be someone else."
While he attended Oakton Community College, Malik donned the traditional Muslim headscarf or hijab.
Since his interest in Islam grew, and his parents never approve aspirations theater anyway, she did not return to the scene and then transferred to DePaul University to major in religious studies.
She married shortly after their graduation and was the first of four children in 2001. Life took another turn on September 11 of that year.
She wore a hat instead of a hijab when she left the House that day here. In the years that followed, she faced a new consciousness of itself on his faith. It has also experienced a vacuum inside.
"In my soul, there was a vacuum," she said. "I tried to think at a time when I was happier in my life." She thought in high school.
Thus, she began to write. Inspired by his own meeting with injury, his first original play "Unveiling" begins at 16th Street Theater in 2009.
His sympathetic portraits of five modern Muslim women have inspired invitations of synagogues, churches and mosques and the members of the public apology which, after seeing the show have re-examined the stereotypes and preconceived notions. The room has also inspired the rave of most critics.
Tanya Palmer, Director of the development of new games for the Goodman Theatre, stated that she looked Malik and his characters evolve since "Unveiling."
"She tries to dig a little deeper, so it is not only with people struggling with their identity, but actually explore that and the complexity of this", said Palmer. "It is what theatre can do." "He gets into how complicated it is to be human".
But the creation of complex characters to represent Islam, which is already widely misunderstood, can be a tricky effort.
"I saw her grappling with their religion in a culture that is in fact actively hostile toward the Muslim faith and to the faithful Muslim or unfamiliar with", said Palmer. "There is often a change for the people who are not well represented on stage, or when they are represented there are negative representations." They feel the pressure to show positive representations only. ... It is an evolution, not only for octogenarian but for playwrights South Asian and Middle East at the United States in General in terms of what they see that their role is. »
Malik returned to his alma mater last month led to dig in his high school Yearbook. Its pages were covered with compliments and forecasts of a career on Broadway.
"It has not yet arrived, but it is my dream," said.
While "Unveiled" prepares a stage in France, it is mainly to introduce the play to an audience of New York on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A colleague recently suggested it would be wrong time and would not listen to New Yorkers.
"I think that they will.", she said. "I would love for my play to be part of the dialogue."
(c) 2011, Chicago Tribune.
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