Hello, stranger. My name is Abdimalik Ahmed. I am a writer, a filmmaker, and an actor based in Minneapolis, MN. I am currently a junior at the University of Minnesota studying Journalism and Cinema Studies. This website primarily serves as a private digital album at the moment, however here are some snapshots of me that I’ll share with you.
(8/18/22) I recently wrapped on a fringe production titled “A Little Water”, a Shakespeare’s Hamlet adaptation focused on Ophelia. I played Hamlet. Here are some photos from our tech rehearsal the week before opening night.
I had never played a lead in a show before. Besides a freshman year drama class in high school, I had never even delivered a monologue. Playing the lead in a play was always a sincere dream, a highlighted and underlined bucket list item since I was a kid. I remember being in middle school watching Glee, just knowing I had what it took HA! This year has been a continuous series of crossing off item after item on my bucket list, so I thought if it’s gonna happen, why not take advantage of this winning streak to make it happen now? So I went to the audition, my sense of iambic pentameter completely wack, not stressing my consonants and blurring my words. However, they must’ve seen something in my performance to give me a chance at the lead, and I took it!
We went to rehearsal about every other day for a month, learning the blocking, memorizing the lines, relearning the blocking because it’s clearly asking too much to have to speak and move at the same time, duh. But once we all had it down, the freedom of having it memorized allowed us to start pouring in that emotion. I was gifted and cursed with the daunting task of Hamlet’s “To Be Or Not To Be” monologue. I never read Hamlet in school so I had no idea what that famous phrase was about. When I read it for the first time with our director, I was taken aback to learn that Hamlet is voicing his suicidal ideation: his feelings of intense fear at the unknown of what comes after death, and his feeling that that fear of the unknown is the only thing holding countless suffering people to the weary pain of this life (as they would kill themselves otherwise).
I was like “ooo Hamlet, we supposed to keep that to ourselves! Wait, so I’m supposed to say this out loud, out of my mouth…?” During performances, I didn’t really have any stage fright, but when walking towards the audience for this monologue, my legs would be bouncing and shaking violently like I was riding a jackhammer. The terror of speaking real. Will they see through the character and see that it’s really me speaking aloud these terrible, guilty things? I can’t do this… surely? I learned a hard lesson that is pretty counterintuitive: it’s the vulnerability that you think the audience will judge you for that makes them respect your performance in the first place. I would always hear actors say “whatever you’re feeling, use it.” Damn do I wholeheartedly understand them now.
I turned 20 a year ago. Those final months of being 19 was the most agonizing period of my life. That teenage angst was putting in overtime in order to meet the deadline, use itself up before the looming expiration date, pumping itself out into my veins in concentrations almost lethal. Life had never felt so compressed before, I was so acutely aware of the fact that my teenage years would forever be past and I would die having never ever been a teenager ever again. Teenage years are over, next is adulthood and death. I am perhaps overly sentimental so a line in the sand like this felt absolutely definitive, I step over it and it can never be redrawn. I am no longer boxed in, I am unmoored in perilous waters. In some short weeks, my youth will end and my death is waiting to embrace me somewhere ahead in the thick fog.
As you can see, I was acutely aware of my mortality in a way I never had been worried about. Life is impossible and I don’t want to live it, but I’m so terrified of it ending and never being allowed to claw my way back. At the time, I could never voice such things. Generations of Hamlets were so brave to walk up on stage and proclaim this desperation to the masses. I knew now that they were all afraid, all relating to this hushed collective terror of the only certainty we have. I knew I could do it like them. Speak as Hamlet and speak as me. It was the proudest I’ve ever felt of myself, and as I stood there bearing it all, it felt like I was finally siphoning from a subterraneous river within me that I had been blindly digging for, through the opaque fog, an anchoring of truth and sincerity to expose. That final night as Hamlet, nine days after my 21st birthday, I felt like I finally closed this tumultuous chapter of my life. I’m a twenty-something. I’m alive. I’m loved. I love. I’m okay. I’m excited to tap back into that river in the future the next time I get on stage and connect to a character so deeply!
(8/31/22) Yesterday I was an extra on my friend Maxamed’s ambitious sci-fi short film Blight. I had been interested in this film for a long time and had witnessed the long journey it took him to get it financed and so on, so I jumped at the opportunity to be in even a very small part of it.
I drove an hour south for a call time of 9am, and proceeded to spend most of the day waiting around for the two scenes where I am walking in the background… and then sitting on a truck in the background. Acting on set is mostly waiting around I’ve learned. You’ve gotta make do with conversations with the other people waiting around all day with you. For example, while sitting on that truck I learned about getting an agent from one of the other extras. This is a business of connections so it’s kinda perfect, you’re working but mostly you’re networking for the opportunity to keep working. I also spent a lot of time watching my friend act and the dynamic between the director and the rest of the crew, soaking in the technical knowledge of the DP and analyzing the what and why of everything the crew was doing. This was my second experience on a set since that glorious opportunity in LA back in March/April. Since doing my Production Assistant training, I’m way more in the know this time! Second of many, inshaAllah.
Excited to update this eventually with my recent television role when it debuts and I can say/show ANYTHING.
Meanwhile, here is a piece of writing I wrote in 2020 that went semi-viral and I would love for you to read.
Read it here: Blackness & George Floyd in a Black Immigrant Family: No Language to Grieve
Contact me at email@example.com ….
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Somali, Black, Muslim
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