Do they rave about your show?
Our legs took on a life of their own.
So, we rose to our feet.
Me whistling. Both of us taking turns at roaring.
And our aching hands clapping as hard and as furiously as our arms would allow.
The rest of the audience rose with us.
One here, another there.
Then the whole of the shouting, whooping Palladium audience.
From the first notes of the opening overture…
Heads had bobbed, feet had tapped, silently (and not so silently) we had mouthed the words that had captivated us since childhood.
For three hours we were not in possession of our souls.
We were held bound… transported… by this ridiculous, glorious story and spectacle.
The King and I.
How could they do this?
How could Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein lift us out of our ordinary world…
Long after they had left this earth?
How could they take a spoilt brat of an all-powerful, polygamous king and make us love his arrogant childishness anyway?
How could they weave themes of slavery, the belittling of women, the death of loved ones, the innocence of children, and wonderful, wonderful love…
And make us laugh, cry and sigh in unison?
As we took the train home from Victoria, exhausted and happy, three themes were already forming in my addled mind.
Firstly, The King – with his delusions and his fragile grasp on what-he-thinks-he-absolutely-knows – is not unlike us… entrepreneurs who start, or lead, our business.
On the one hand, what we think we know is based on assumptions, half-truths and stories we weave in our heads.
On the other, the world looks to us to do things that are so ludicrously not-doable…
If we thought too hard about them, we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
Secondly, we often allow ourselves to be slaves.
Habits that are no longer helpful.
Fears that paralyse us and hold us to comfortable routines, which we know will at least make money;
but are seldom the best we’re capable of.
Thirdly, we are creative beings.
Our minds and hearts are capable of soaring.
If we exercised the courage, our childhood games prove that we can create The Extraordinary.
We can do more than fill our bellies, clothe our backs, collect our stuff and protect ourselves.
If we would care just a little more…
We can lead a business that will bless the lives of others.
And that very act will live on, somewhere, somehow, in someone’s life.
Long after the show is over.