Playwright's fictional tale shines light on Satan

by Gloria Osaba

Gone are the days of Shakespeare. Gone are the days of Susan Lori Parks and Tennessee Williams. A new era is emerging, in which playwrights not only showcase their artistic talents but also dazzle the minds of their audience. In his play "Colossians 3:14," Richmond District resident Romolo Mampieri strives to captivate the mind.

The play is a tragedy about a young, beautiful girl, her father and Satan. The young girl, Page, has just had an accident. Her father, Rick, is on an Aruban beach sharing a bottle of beer and discussing the future with Satan. The play focuses on 21st century events that were foretold in Satan's prophesies.

Satan is depicted as his generic archtype - red skinned, horned and menacing. Rick is worried that his daughter will go to hell. Page is a young girl who uses drugs, including cocaine, and likes to party like Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton.

Satan talks to Rick about hot topics, such as weapons of mass destruction and alternative fuel, issues that have marked George W. Bush's presidency.

Lines from the play include:
"Isn't it terrible how this war is costing billions of dollars each year. Money that doesn't really exist, actually. With all the money that's being pumped into military operations over the past seven years, we could have saved millions of starving children, researched alternative fuels and cured disease."

Mampieri uses humor to lighten the mood. For example, when Satan asks Rick if he has seen raw, leaking sewage, Rick answers "yes." From that, Satan concludes that Rick has seen Venice.

At the end of the play, Page wakes up from a deep slumber and Rick tries to comfort her, but Satan walks her away to Hell. Rick then commits suicide by drowning.

The young, clean-shaven playwright goes to the San Francisco School of the Arts on Portola Drive. He is the oldest of two brothers.

This is the second time that Mampieri has won the Young San Francisco Playwright Award. Last year, he won the award for his play "The Method of Being a Velociraptor," a comedic spoof of traditional Stanislavski training.

"Velociraptor" expertly skews every amateur acting class the audience has ever had the misfortune of participating in.

Mampieri's role models are Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. His playwriting mentor is Ellen Koivisto and his acting mentor is Phillip Rayher.

Like most teenagers, Mampieri loves to hang out with his friends. He is a first generation Italian-American who loves the Richmond because of its ethnic diversity, a melting pot of cultures.

One of the major obstacles in his profession is breaking through the immense competition of actors and playwrights.

Mampieri said he is trying to decide what university to attend. It is between the University of California, Los Angeles and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

At the end of his play, Mampieri tries to make a profound point by including a quote from Anton LaVey, the high priest of '70s satanism.

"Every religion in the world that has destroyed people is based on love," LaVey said.

Mampieri's play was presented at City College of San Francisco May 15, 17 and 18. Other winners of the Young San Francisco Playwright Award are Tanea Lunsford, with "Mary;" Santino Garcia, with "Sexy Knees;" and Kalson Chan and Benson M.A, with "Within the Wall of Sand."