Conerico Was Here to Stay

(Second play in “The City Scene”, published by Samuel French)

YAM. Hello. I’m calling from the local subway station.
(He leans out of the phone booth.)
I can’t see the sign from herewith the station’s name, but
GIRL’S VOICE: You saw my number on the poster.
YAM. That’s correct. And it says, “For happiness And thrills, call–”
GIRL. Right. Well, what’s your pleasure? Fellatio? Anal gratification? Or the usual?

YAM, conservatively dressed and carrying a briefcase and umbrella, awakens from a doze to discover he is alone on a subway platform. He has amnesia. His hat is on the subway tracks. He calls various numbers written on the posters–to help him get back his hat–and his memory.

While waiting, he avoids making contact with a belligerent blind man, who seeks his help; stands by when a girl with a cello is raped by some gang members; tries to find his courage in a suicidal fantasy and–finally–does find courage when he meets a charming, courageous, volatile Puerto Rican gang member, who, in a climax of violence and escape, helps YAM find his identity and his humanity.

In the original Off-Broadway production (Produced by Edward Albee), the role of Jesùs , the Puerto Rican gang member , and YAM’s salvation, was played by Jaime Sanchez who went on to win a Derwent Award. In the Off Broadway revival, Terry Kaiser starred as YAM and Raul Julia was featured as Jesùs.

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