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U P S I D E     d o w n s t a i r s    a cambridge comedy of manners
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"Pieces Of One" Music and lyrics by Cassandra von Braun



The help are no help . . ., but they are running the institution.



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S E T T I N G

Don Revere, a successful academic administrator who would himself have been a creative force to contend with had his career not got in the way of his inner poet, finds domestic life unravelling after his wife`s sister Mary`s deliberately politically incorrect one-woman show incites a riot.

Don tries to distance himself from Mary's unapproved ideas by filing a complaint with the police and threatening to evict Mary from Adams House, where they all live, but the strategy immediately backfires when his imperious albeit insane queen -- wife Kate -- turns out to have been waiting for an excuse to leave her husband and renew acquaintance with an old flame whom she has discovered lives in a boarding house not far from campus.


To Don`s surprise, Mary`s embarrassing performance and the street altercation it caused have lifted Don`s cachet among his colleagues. Suddenly he finds himself the beneficiary of attention from people who had previously refused to acknowledge his existence. Considering Mary is his only line of communication with Kate, it is obvious he must figure out how to make Mary stay right where she is.



But suddenly Mary is in demand as Artist in Residence at a rival house on campus, receiving offers left and right — and she is furious with Don for never letting her know that such positions exist, or that she could somehow be viewed as a respectable member of the academic community instead of as a deadbeat loser spongeing off the largesse of her brother-in-law.

To prove himself as the worldly and worthy husband, Don hires Kate's lover Fada to organize an important fundraising dinner for illustrious alumni, with VIPs out the wazoo in attendance. Can Don win his wife back? Why would he even want to? At the crux of the conundrum, at a swanky hotel on the River Charles, is a platinum tiara and one instant of blazing chutzpah in which Don seizes the moment, playing the crowd like a shameless gypsy to save the day and prove that love is a fool.




L Y R I C

It was hard to let you go -- for me you were unique
But it was what you said you wanted so, coolly,
I froze in a pose and refused to think
And held my breath while you faded out of reach
[instr:. . . held my breath . . . you faded out of reach]

I tried not to care -- lost to sight or touch or speech
And when you would not be forgotten, I was forced into retreat
But the signposts in my solitude seemed to
Play like a game -- some cosmic Hide And Seek

We were pieces of one
Space and time could not affect

So I set my gaze on a higher place
That you would not neglect

Pieces of one won't come undone
In a bargain won from heaven, in love's revolution

Pieces of one won't come undone, the tie will bind and you will find
That we have always been together and there is no such thing as goodbye

Serving at this outpost there's been time for wondering
Hanging tough at this frontier, making sense against the mystery crowding in

When I saw you coming toward me I thought I must have died

There were boats out on the river and it was the Fourth of July

We won the contest at the picnic and sailed off to look at the sky

Pieces of one
Won't come undone
[instr. br.]

Pieces of one
Time had no effect

Just a couple of 'bourgs at the fireworks

But how could I object?

Serving at this outpost there's been time for wondering

The inexplicable is all around us, even when nothing's going on

Then some delicious moment like you coming here to let me know

Exceeded by surprise this time it`s me who has to go

Pieces of one
Won't come undone
[instr. br.]

Pieces of one won`t come undone
For the veterans of the battlefield in love`s revolution
Pieces of one won`t come undone, the tie will bind and you will find
That we have always been together and there is no such thing as goodbye














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