Watching Mary Poppins was instantly refreshing.
When you’ve had business, business, business and economics cramped into your already intense three weeks in a huge, busy economy like Australia, you begin to wonder if there were other things that mattered in people’s lives than the many faces of money.
An unexpected and rather pleasant surprise was in store for me as I reluctantly walked with our group down the road from our Sydney hotel to the Capitol Theatre on a cold early May evening.
Our chaperone Helen Musa kept reminding us of how lucky we were that “a rich entrepreneur” was kind enough to donate 10 tickets for us to go and watch Mary Poppins and how we were sure to enjoy the show.
“You’re very lucky,” she said. “These tickets cost about A$100 each.”
After a hectic program in Canberra during the first two days of the week going to the national budget reading, museums, parliament tour not to mention the jerky ride around the Parliamentary precincts looking at different embassy buildings, I was too exhausted to care.
Mary Poppins? On our very first day in Sydney? Come on!
But it wasn’t long before I was eating my words.
Not only was it the first time for me to watch a musical production live on stage, this particular performance was so powerful that I, despite severe exhaustion, simply had to sit up, watch and allow myself to be overcome by the sudden realisation and fascination at how a book, written in the 1930s, could still remain relevant today.
I had watched Mary Poppins on video back in the 1990s and soon got bored with it so I surprised even myself at how much interest I was taking in this production and how determined I was to re-read Mary Poppins in book form.
My overfed business mind began detoxing as Mary Poppins, in her charming and magical ways, sets in motion a series of subtle changes in perspective within the rich Banks household.
It wasn’t long before I, as part of the audience, began to realise that some things in life were indeed more important than money; like kindness, consideration for others and innocence, and even how the dusty forgotten dreams of boyhood whose power to bring life back to a grown man in his darkest hours are among things that money can’t buy.
I’m not sure whether that realisation ran in the veins of the production’s theme or a bi-product of it but I came out of Capitol Theatre that night pleased, my tiredness miraculously gone and my heart suddenly pressed with hope.
That if this world is ever at risk of imploding from humanity’s preoccupation with money, wealth, greed, status, profits and selfishness, a little bit of Mary Poppins should be enough to save the day.