The Full Monty
I was at my daughter’s school fair selling helium balloons and spinning the wheel of fortune for a bunch of kids dressed as pirates. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere in the school was pretty electric. Lots of hamburgers, hot dogs and beer. What else does one need on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?
As I was dowsing my liver with wine and beer, I get a call from my friend Olivia to go for the showing of the hit musical “The Full Monty”. Hong Kong was hosting the American adaptation of the original 1997 British comedy film –The Full Monty
It didn’t take much convincing from her for me to part with HKD 600 to see 6 naked men. She picked me up at about 5.30 pm and we went for a really fancy dinner at the Dot Cod- a nice restaurant by the theater. Interestingly, there were a lot of women there tonight. Why I wonder?
Around 7.00 pm all the women start to leave and everyone is at the theatre to watch real men strip butt naked. What is it about nakedness that attracts us so much? It’s not as if we have never seen naked men before. Most of the women were in their 30’s so am sure everyone had seen naked men before. I think it is the vulnerability that we humans like to watch. Very often, more than the physical nakedness it is the nakedness of the soul that fascinates us.
Full Monty is a story of six unemployed steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, who decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of professionals. As they prepare for the show, they work through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties; they overcome their inner inhibitions and find strength in their camaraderie. The show is more than a strip act, it is about the courage and the motivation of a father who does not want to lose his son, about a husband who would do anything to keep his wife happy. The misunderstanding that is due to the unsaid and the expected. I think the show is an amazing portrayal of the human spirit.
The shedding of physical clothes makes us vulnerable. Baring it all is never easy, whether it is the clothes on our body that cover our modesty or baring our soul. In fact it is harder to bare our soul especially to those who are near and dear. Shedding your inhibitions in front of strangers is sometimes easier than shedding them in front of people we know. Very often we keep up pretences to keep the harmony, we do not shed our clothes lest the world laughs at us, similarly we do not bare our soul, lest we come across as vulnerable and weak. But it is only in the shedding that we get the courage .
It is all very easy for us to sit back and watch the show, for it is just that –a show. Only if we could find a deeper meaning in the obvious. I think it is a great portrayal of the human spirit overcoming its insecurities and its inhibitions in the face of adversity. Once you shed the sheath that covers the spirit, life becomes much less cumbersome.
As Steve Jobs says succinctly…”Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. “
So go out…….get naked (metaphorically speaking) and start living. So what if the people laugh and sneer. Who will have the last laugh?
The audience paid money and the actors got paid……so who was laughing??? The fools like us who sit at sidelines and watch or the people who shed it all to follow their dreams.