Dover High School student finalist in statewide playwright competition

Nikolas Mandals

By Brooke Schultz

Delaware State News

DOVER — A Dover High student will see the play he wrote come to life this spring, after he placed as a finalist in an annual statewide playwriting competition.

Nikolas Mandalas, a junior, is one of five students to be selected as finalists this year for the Young Delaware Playwright Festival, sponsored by the Delaware Theatre Company. Fifty-five students in grades 8 to 12 from nine schools competed.

“I was really surprised, and I was really excited,” he said. “I felt like it was kind of a big achievement being a top five finalist.”

Niko’s play, “Coffee Shop,” follows two characters who were once friends in high school, but had a falling out that resulted in them losing touch. With some time between them, the two run into each other at a coffee shop when they’re in college.

“One is dealing with a bad breakup and the other is dealing with the stress of college, and they kind of help each other out and come back together and they realize that they needed each other the entire time,” he said.

The play had to follow the theme of finding a “true treasure” — in Niko’s case, friendship.

Through February, the finalists will participate in workshops, conducted by members of the Delaware Theatre Company, to fine tune their scripts and prepare for a showcase of performances of the plays. The curtain opens March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the theater company’s Wilmington location.

“I’m hoping that if I do something in life that has to do with writing plays or working on TV or movies that this can help me and be gateway towards that,” he said.

This year’s finalists included Melody Fritz of Appoquinimink High School, Zach Hitchens of Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Lauren McAllister and Bridgette A. Rivers of St. Elizabeth School.