Monday, July 15, 2024

Zeynep’s Colorful World



I would like to start by wishing you all a healthy lifetime…

Dear friends, you can’t even imagine how excited I am. I have a pencil in my hand, I am sitting in my room on top of my notebook where I scribbled my last memories in high school. I skimmed through the pages… I came across ridiculous but beautiful memories. The initials of my childhood love in hearts, cartoon characters I illustrated, hanging men and strange doodles… Time flows like water, but the writings remain. This is exactly why writing makes me so happy. When you look back, you leave works that you are proud of.

My beautiful readers, welcome to Zeynep’s Wonderful World! I would like to tell you a little bit about whose fantasy world you will dive into:

I’m Zeynep, I’m 24 years old, I’m a young woman full of crazy, high energy, in love with putting smiles on people’s faces, who studied Performing Arts in Rome, Italy; the paradise of art and pasta. Then continued my education in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I’m a person who loves traveling, eating from different cuisine, making friends from all over the world, love the stage, cinema, animals, giving life to different characters, doing sports and observing. For a moment you thought it would never end, right?

Zeynep Alkan

This is the first time I’m writing a column for an arts newspaper. To be honest, I have no idea what it will be like. That’s where my excitement comes from!

I used to keep a diary, I don’t do it now like I used to. It’s a shame, because it’s very healthy to talk to yourself… I know it sounds weird, but it’s a must, sir. Go in front of the mirror and talk about how your day was and how you feel! It is so valuable for your awareness… This was actually the building block of everything we learned during my training…

Stepping on the ground you stand on by being aware of who you are and remembering that you exist. To stop, to stop keeping up with the flow of life and to return to your essence from the purest place.

Because you know what? We humans, myself included, live forgetting that we even breathe. We eat to eat. We walk to walk. When we meet someone new, do we really shake their hand, do we really look into their eyes, or do we continue our lives by performing the sign language we have been taught, “shaking hands”. We forget that person’s eye color, name, adjective after maybe 5 minutes. In the same way, they forget us. You know how small children stare at your face, and when you look back at them, they continue to stare as if nothing has happened! Without blinking for a moment, without fear…I love this behavior of children! Because they have not developed traits such as shyness and shame. They look at life with brave eyes. I invite us to go back to being that child again. I have not lost that little Zeynep. I live every moment that I have told you about, that I have observed and experienced throughout my life, as if I had seen it for the first time, as if I were a child full of life. I look forward to taking you on that journey with me.

One of the things that human beings have difficulty in doing today is to be in the moment, to stay in the moment! . The time it takes us to concentrate on something is 3 seconds! Life is moving so fast that unfortunately we live forgetting our existence. Especially this “living in the moment” turns into a completely different issue. The key to getting the most out of life by living in the moment is to focus on what you can control and let everything else go. This may be easier said than done, but it’s a simple thing to put into practice every day… In fact, if you’re willing to work at it, you’ll see results quickly. When your mind wanders, stop yourself and bring your focus back to the present moment. Focus on your breath, the physical sensations surrounding you and what is happening right now. There are so many distractions in the world today that keep us from living in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest! Internet, social media, television, smartphones – the list goes on and on! But can you learn to eliminate all these distractions and focus on the simple things? This is the most fundamental thing I have learned throughout my training. To create the moment, to be genuine and sincere by staying in the moment. That all the emotions you experience come from a real place. At the point where you start to pretend, where your mind wanders elsewhere; you lose your sincerity and no one believes you, not even yourself!  There is a saying I like: “A good actor is an actor who doesn’t pretend.” This is exactly the case!

Now I would like to tell you about my department, which perhaps many people are very curious about.

Performance and Performing Arts! When I am asked why I studied this department and then chose this profession, my only answer is: As Zeynep, I live one life and I experience it only with my own eyes, from one profession, one family, one form. But acting gives me the opportunity to experience and feel more than one life, more than one point of view, dozens of different situations and events. For example, I can be a mother in one play, an air hostess in another, a completely different person in another. Crazy! Of course, the different roles and stories come from me and are shaped by how I see them – but they are unique to me and completely different stories.

This department offers many different opportunities for individuals who want to make a living from their creativity. Every performance is unique. That’s where the flavor comes in. For example, we may see the same roles or stories again, but they are never repeated in the same way as before, because the life we give them creates something new every time.

For some, this branch of art is a lifelong passion. Others may want to try it while keeping their day job as an accountant or something else entirely. However, even if you are intrigued by the idea of this art form, that doesn’t mean you know how to start.

The performance begins in the moment, at times independent or dependent on the text. There is no repetition. This point is very valuable for me! In my school our teachers expected us to create a situation within a plot and make them believe in it. Some of my teachers were so difficult to convince, to persuade! What we went through… It was challenging but so special…Improvisation, as the name suggests, is based on spontaneity and reacting quickly to any situation that comes your way at that moment. It’s about being alert enough to recognize opportunities and then making the most of them without weighing yourself down with thoughts about what could go wrong or what you should do instead. What if you had to deliver every conversation or scene on the spot, in front of an audience and cameras, based on a prompt? For some of us this can be very scary at times? But that is exactly what actors do when they perform. It’s not so different from other arts, like writing or painting. This is where I owe a lot to my father (Hamdi Alkan). When I was a little girl, almost every day, we would dive into our imagination and live what was created in that bubble, taking the shape of the characters in the story we created together. Zeynep! Our spaceship is broken, we are both incredibly hungry and there is only one chocolate pudding left on board: 3-2-1 START! At that moment, our house would turn into a spaceship, our mood would completely change and we would fight for our lives for that pudding… I owe my improvisational skills to my father.  To summarize: whatever you want to do, always be yourself, be in the moment and don’t lose your courage! Do work that feeds your soul! I, too, believe that throughout my professional life, the performance I am in should be fearless, worth living and lived to the fullest. My dream and passion is to live this profession with all my heart, soul and mind.  There are many things I want to tell you about my life. I know that you will get to know me with all of them in time. Thank you very much for reading. Stay safe!

Zeynep ALKAN
Actress & Performance Artist
Instagram: @zeynepalkanz

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