A Tour Of The City (Part 2)

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A Tour Of The City (Part 2)[1]
WBAI And NPR Playhouse
Original Broadcast Date
Alan Hunter, Marilyn Casky, Barbara Sohmers, Arthur Miller, Richard Bauer, Tim Jerome, Mark Hammer, Joseph Palmieri, Larry Block, Joe Frank
Scripted Actors, Sound Effects, 27 minutes
Preceded by: A Tour Of The City (Part 1)
Followed by: Across The River

You're riding in a cab in the rain. The windshield wipers swish back and forth.

A Tour Of The City (Part 2) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series WBAI And NPR Playhouse. It was originally broadcast in 1984.

This program was broadcast in two parts, the first part is 60 minutes long. The second part is 30 minutes.


'You're riding in a cab in the rain...' Joe tells the damage the rain does. The cabdriver (a parody East European accent) says that a purification plant cleans the rainwater, takes Joe to the bridge where people commit suicide by jumping into the unpurified water, so acid bodies dissolve immediately. People yell and jump. The line is so long some give up waiting. The crowd applauds good dives.

3:10: The president addresses the nation, recalls when we knew our neighbors, talked to each other.

3:40: Vorst (sp?)[1] interrogates Alex about his job (an electrical engineer at the main power plant).

4:10: Joe describes the hydroelectric power plant. We can hear the sound of its operation in the background.

5:10: A warning light flashes; pipes and wires break; fires start. Workers frantically attempt repairs.

6:20: Vorst asks Alex if he knows how much breakdowns at the plant harm the city.

7:20: A distant woman's voice, barely audible, questions Alex, has the same conversation Olga had with Alex in act 1.

8:20: Alex tells Voltgen that something is missing from his life; Voltgen asks what he's missing as though it is palpable ('animal, vegetable, or mineral... what color?').

10:30: The president recalls how wonderful it was to talk to the people you encountered.

11:00: Vorst asks Alex if he has any siblings (no), then why not. Vorst asks Alex if he would have had more children had he been his parents. Vorst asks Alex why he has no children. Vorst tells Alex that Eva and Olga (Alex's wives) work for his organization.

12:20: Alex converses with the distant voice of Eva, has the conversation about making love from act 1.

13:00: Vorst and Funk(sp?) talk about what a great dancer Eva is, that they were out with her last night. Alex tells them she can't walk; they disagree.

13:30: Joe tells of a prisoner watching the rain from his cell.

14:00: Vorst tells of flying over the presidential palace.

14:50: The president tells of being poor when he grew up, how his mother made food from nothing: wood pulp omelettes, sparrow soup, baked earthcakes. The children would collect water by squeezing it off ferns in the rain. He calls upon citizens to take strength from adversity, such as the blackout.

16:20: Vorst asks Alex what he enjoyed doing with his father. Alex says fishing. Vorst makes fun of this.

17:00: Alex has a flashback of fishing with his father. Alex wonders when his mother can join them fishing.

18:50: Vorst asks what was wrong with his mother; she had had an accident.

19:30: Alex describes the accident that hurt his mother; it happened when he stuck his mother's hat pin into an electrical socket, which caused an explosion. Vorst and Funk laugh at this.

20:00: Sound from the Electricism service sounds faintly, then the washerwoman's bout with the beetle, then the fellow describing suicideurs, all from act 1.

20:40: Joe says the streets have turned into canals; coffins have floated out of the cemetery; a woman jumps from the bridge.

21:50: Alex tells of the funeral parlor in his neighborhood; he walks in. A background voice (Vorst?) asks children's questions, 'Where does the rain come from?... Why do I have to go to my room? If I don't like it, why do I have to eat it? Are we there yet?'. Alex describes the service in the parlor. The minister sounds like he's describing Alex; Alex notices the similarity. Alex goes up to the coffin, sees it's empty, so gets in, lies down; he notices his lips are sewn shut, his face heavily rouged. They close the coffin, carry it out; he hears the sound of children playing in an adjoining lot.

Legacy Synopsis

Competitive suicide jumping into Waterworks Gorge. Breakdown in a plant. "Something is missing from my life" dialog. President talks about eating nothing as a child. Fishing with dad. Walking into one's own funeral.


This is an incomplete record of the music in this program. If you can add more information, please do.

Shared material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Directed by Arthur Miller, and mixed by Jim Anderson. The performers were Alan Hunter, Marilyn Casky, Barbara Sohmers, Arthur Miller, Brother Theodore, Mark Hammer, Joseph Palmieri, Clark Gordon, Larry Block, Sharon Dennis-Wyeth, Richard Bauer, and Tim Jerome."


  • Nightride takes place in the same 'world' as A Tour Of The City; Alex is the same person in both; the text is different.
  • The text from this program was published in the form of a play.


  1. I take the interrogators' names from Nightride.