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Playwright wins award

From right are Rachel Gibson, Christine Manzagol, Deanna Klersy, Anthony Mandalari, and Audre Jankowski, and behind the couch is Mike Jones. (click for larger version)
November 03, 2010 - Christine Manzagol watched as her murder-mystery came to life on the stage.

It was how she imagined it would be when she was writing the scenes.

"It's a dream come true," said Manzagol. "Some parts are even better than I had seen it in my head."

The Clarkston teen's script, "I Shan't Sleep a Wink," won first place in Michigan Youth Theater's first annual playwriting competition. She wrote it as a murder mystery taking place in a senior citizen home.

The setting sparked an idea because it would be an interesting place for characters to interact and be "stuck in a room."

She spent months working on the script and mom, Denise, described her banging away at the computer with her parakeet perched on her shoulder and puppy in her lap.

The hard work paid off.

She found out in August she had won first place and her play would be showcased at MYT's Fall Festival of Plays.

"It was very exciting," she said.

Her play was selected based on her "well-drawn characters and strong conflict."

Since, she has directed the play after she is done with her daily sessions of home school.

Christine began writing plays a few years ago.

"My friend across the street and I started writing and performing them for our parents," she said.

She contributed her success to her uncle Paul Mills, of Allen Park, for giving her a playwriting book and to her family.

She also writes stories and admitted she hasn't completed anything yet.

"I am trying to write a couple of books," she added, pointing out she wants to be an author.

Christine enjoys learning about the Native American Indians.

"I like their culture and the stuff they do is really interesting," she added.

"I Shan't Sleep a Wink," is featured this week at Holly Academy during the Fall Festival of Plays is on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 4, 5, shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door, students and seniors are $5 and adults are $7. Holly Academy is located at 820 Academy Road, Holly.

For more information, visit

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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