'was upstaged' ??



I saw this excerpt on Yahoo!News
Space shuttle Atlantis and its six astronauts glided to a safe landing in darkness early Thursday, ending a 12-day mission whose smooth success was briefly upstaged by the high drama caused by mysterious floating debris.

Please tell me what "was upstaged" means in this case..

Thank you
  • ireney

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    It comes from the theatre. Imagine someone having a secondary role and attracting more attention that the actor who plays the leading role. The leading actor is in this case upstaged (the stage of a theatre) by the actor playing the secondary role

    The "mysterious floating debris" attracted (briefly) more attention than the success of the mission (although in general the mission was more important than the debris)

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    Yes it's from the theatre. It's a very specific term.

    Upstage means further towards the back of the stage (away from the audience). So if one actor upstages another, it means they have moved towards the back of he stage from where they can deliver their lines directly towards the audience. The actor that they have out-manoeuvered is now downstage and must turn his back on the audience in order to deliver the lines in reply to the other actor.

    So to upstage someone is to steal attention away from them and onto oneself.