• The play begins onboard a ship coming from Singapore to Bangcock, Siam.
• Anna, a school teacher, and Louis, her 9 year old son, are coming from England to teach the King's children.
• Louis and Anna get excited when they see the lights of Siam. They are ready for their voyage to be over.
• Captain Orton warns Anna of the dangers of being a single woman in Siam. She shrugs these off.
• Orton says Anna will be met by the Kralahome, the Prime Minister. He tells her to deal nicely with him as he has much power.
• Louis is alarmed when he sees the Kralahome and the other slaves are nearly naked. Anna sings a song about whistling to combat fears.
• Anna is told she will live in the palace. She objects to this as she was promised a separate house.
• The King is busy with matters of the New Year celebration...
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