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Upstage Downstage

Words and Music: Tim Porter. Musical,1985

Green Branch’s answer to “42nd Street” explores the backstage world of amateur thespians and coarse acting, as seen during our heroine’s meteoric rise to stardom - of a sort.

Author's note:

This play results from a great love of the theatre, and of public libraries! My work has led me to spend much time in both, and it is hard to say of which the old cliche is truer: "all human life is there". Certainly, most of the characters and situations in "Upstage Downstage" are based on real life; nonetheless, it would be going to far to say that people will recognise themselves!

One feature of the show is entirely imaginary - T.H.A.T.'s - the theatre club in terminal decline. For the amateur theatre as a whole I must confess an undying admiration; I would not care to grapple with some of Mr Askew's problems. And the transformation involved has a legendary magic: behind the library counter all day, but Queen Guinevere all night!

In case a song in Act II should puzzle you, Thespis (so the Reference Section assures me) lived in the 6th century BC, and is variously labelled "the father of Greek drama" and "the first actor". He has become something of a mascot - theatre's equivalent of St. Cecilia - so it is rather a surprise to discover that he really did exist.

Tim Porter

Character list

Mrs Orrice
Taxi Driver*
Bill Marlowe
Cedric Askew
Claudia Cavafy
Cafe Proprietor*
     * played by the same actor


1 flute
1 oboe
1 clarinet
2 percussion
2 piano (one played onstage by Askew)
2 violins
1 viola
1 double bass


New Year 1985: Folk House, Bristol
Summer 1985: Folk House, Bristol