Play #69: The Spirit Made Pizza

The play is set in the prep-kitchen of a large, glossy, New York-based food-and-style magazine.  Two chefs—a Master Chef and his Sous-Chef—are fussing about with freshly rolled planes of pizza dough and vessels bearing assorted kinds of comestible decoration—pots of tomato sauce, bowls of grated mozzarella, grated Parmesan, chunks of feta cheese, wedges of provolone, plates of prosciutto strips, slices of eggplant, assorted sliced mushrooms, piles of cilantro leaves, scallions, black olives, chunks of tuna, fillets of anchovy, a gathering of asparagus spears, marinated artichoke hearts, bits of crumbled lamb sausage and…well…suffice it to say, it’s an opulent gathering of potential toppings.   The chef—whose name is Fabrizio da Ponte—seems agitated, and grows more so as the play proceeds.  His Sous-Chef, Mimmo Castiglione, is rapid, breezy, sufficiently assured to irritate Fabrizio beyond measure.

Mimmo (boyishly):  This is exciting!

Fabrizio (glumly): You think so?  Making pizzas look like the paintings of the great masters?

Mimmo (gaily):  Sure, it’ll be fun!

Fabrizio (near despair):  That’s what the editors say too.

Mimmo (tittering):  Fresh ideas!!

Fabrizio (furious): This is a joke to you, yes?  Making a pizza look like a painting by Kandinsky?  Kandinsky, who wrote On the Spiritual in Art?

Mimmo (absently):  I never read it.

Fabrizio (contemptuous): No, you wouldn’t have.

Mimmo (cooly):  Don’t you think we’d better get started?  The photographers will be here in a couple of hours.

Fabrizio (half resigned to his fate):  Okay okay, fine.
Who do you want to begin with?  Jackson Pollock?  De Kooning?  Rothko?

Mimmo (peeking up his ears):  Who was that last one?

Fabrizio:  Mark Rothko.  He made big paintings of soft hovering lozenges of colour.  Very slow, very contemplative, very mystical. [turning savagely to Mimmo]    
Perfect for translating into pizzas, right?

Mimmo (offhandedly): It’s all the same to me.

Fabrizio (dyspeptically):  I’m sure.

Mimmo: So I guess I’ll start with a Pollock-piza.

Fabrizio (contemptuously):  Sure, just throw everything around, right?

Mimmo (grinning):  Yeh. It oughta take me about thirty seconds!  Who are you going to do?

Fabrizio (glumly):  Rothko I guess.  They want a Rothko upstairs, so I’ll make them their Pizza-Rothko.

Mimmo (carefully): Didn’t he commit suicide?  Is that the guy?

Fabrizio: Yes, Mimmo.  And to tell you the truth, I think I know how he may have felt [he then begins to ladle tomato sauce onto the flesh-white field of the waiting pizza dough]