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Bronx Neighbors: Zania Cousins

Bronx Times
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Zania Cousins is your typical 12-year-old — she loves vampire books, gymnastics and the color pink.

But the Soundview wunderkind breaks the mold after that, as a young playwright, with an off-Broadway play performed by professional actors set to debut this month.

And she has no computer to call her own.

She drafted the eight-scene play entitled “Pink Friday,” originally a story, at the Clason’s Point Library, spending the winter months joining a cadre of aspiring writers after school to craft stories.

“I didn’t really expect an off-Broadway show,” said Zania, blushing. “It was just a story I wrote inside a library.”

But she also received help from Writopia Lab, a Manhattan-based nonprofit geared towards creative writers ages eight to 18.

The after-school workshop at the library cultivates a child’s creative talent while encouraging kids like Zania to join.

Zania’s “writing angel,” as she put it, was Writopia executive director Rebecca Wallace-Segall, who thought the Zania’s original story was strong enough to adapt into a play.

But Wallace-Segall was even more impressed by Zania’s ambition to finish her work.

“It was very emotional to watch that journey,” said Wallace-Segall.

And as most writers learn the first time out — it’s better to write what you know. So Zania, the oldest of three siblings, pieced together a tale loosely based on her life.

“Pink Friday” is a coming-of-age story focusing on the tug-of-war between a mother and daughter, set around the girl’s 13th birthday party.The mother wants to invite young children, much to the annoyance of the girl, who wants teenagers attending.

“It wouldn’t be a kid’s party for a 13-year-old girl,” said Zania. “But the friend Rose convinces the mom to make the party more for 13-year-olds.”

Real life mom Paula Cousins was initially barred from reading “Pink Friday,” though she was relieved to see the negative portrayal wasn’t bad.

“I thought she was going to have me as the wicked stepmother,” said Paula, still proud to see her daughter’s play produced.

Zania put the play’s finishing touches on during spring break, waking up early to work on it.

“You can consider yourself lucky,” Paula told Zania. “None of your friends are producers of an off-Broadway play.”

“Pink Friday” will run at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row in midtown Manhattan on May 8th. General admission tickets are $20 on Telecharge.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383
Posted 12:00 am, May 8, 2013
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