Chu Si Yi: Back to School

Nicholas Quirke was facing an ordinary day on 22 February 2021. In the Lunar calendar it was 11 of January and it behoves Father-in-Laws to invite their offsprings partners for dinner. As he was not married and even when he was had not had the luxury of a living father-in-law this was a tradition he could not engage in. He could however indulge in the appetising practice of eating Tang Yuan which, was an absolute must between now and the lantern festival. It was a Monday though and a certain level of normality had returned and so he made his way to Chaoyangmen and the school where he would conduct an online lesson and a class with little Jean. It was another beautiful fresh day and the minute he mounted the bike he knew he was going to cycle the whole way to galaxy mall for some tea before the rigours of the day overtook him. It was a really joyous cycle and he was surprised to discover that it only took just over 30 minutes to get there. Once the weather was completely settled he would make the journey by bike every day, assuming he was still going to be in Beijing as the temperature rose permanently. He was having a fast day after feeling he had consumed too much oily food and the deprivation had given him an energy boost and as he sat in TaeTea recording a birthday greeting for his cousin Lena he worked furiously and achieved much. He wished the same could be said of his online lesson with Chloe which was beset with internet problems and left them both frustrated by the inability to get the lesson completed. As always us teaching Jean for two hours was a delight and she thoroughly enjoyed drawing and labelling farm animals which was their new subject. He was looking forward to the evenings entertainment as he had managed to secure a free one month membership to the National Theatre’s online home streaming app and they were going to watch the revival of Angels in America which he had been unable to secure tickets for when it was in repertoire. It was in two parts and was not going to be consumed in one sitting but he was pleased that the opportunity to view it was now available to him as was ‘Mosquitoes’ and ‘Amadeus’.After having worked on Peter Schaffer’s acclaimed play as follow spot operator for months in the West End and seen Frank Finlay’s heartfelt Salieri performance after performance after performance; once even with conjunctivitis so bad he actually couldn’t see the stage had promised himself he would never catch sight of again but in the comfort of his armchair was willing to re-appreciate. Watching the play and seeing the Olivier stage in action made him yearn to be sitting in a theatre again particularly in a English theatre where he had complete understanding and wasn’t having too try and decipher, imagine what was being said. Much as he loved seeing theatre in China it was an exhausting process for his uncomprehending ears. Tony Kushners play though was long and the comfort of a sofa after a couple of hours eventually led to some nodding off and retiring to bed for a sleep seemed to be the preferable option and the conclusion would have to wait for another night.

Leave a Reply