In the preface to his recent collection of essays, The Bad Boy of Athens: Classics from the Greeks to Game of Thrones, critic and memoirist Daniel Mendelsohn writes about his desire to present the ancient Greeks and Romans and their culture afresh, and to ponder what our interpretations and adaptations say about us.
This is precisely what ClassicsNow seeks to do, so we are delighted to welcome Daniel Mendelsohn for the festival’s opening online event, where he will discuss questions of interpretation, cultural memory and much more with Ireland’s Laureate for Irish Fiction, Sebastian Barry. The fathers and sons of Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Odyssey will weave their way through the conversation too, as these two brilliant authors reflect on the presence of Classics in literature – and in life.
This will be available to watch, live, on Friday November 13th, at 7 p.m. with an audience Q&A.
There is no booking charge but registration is required.
Please register for this event here and you will receive the link to the live stream in advance.
This event is in partnership with the Laureate For Irish Fiction, Arts Council of Ireland.
Sophocles’ tragedy is transposed to present day Montreal, where Antigone (Nahéma Ricci) and her family are permanent residents in Canada but without citizenship. This puts them in danger when one of Antigone's brothers gets in trouble with the law. He is the victim of police violence, and her act of defiance is not in his burial, but in rescuing her other brother from prison. Her brother could be deported back to their unnamed North African home country, despite the fact that they came to Canada as political refugees.
When Antigone is detained by the police, she becomes a symbol of resistance throughout the city and on social media. Nahéma Ricci’s electrifying performance brings depth and vulnerability to this contemporary take on the ancient drama, with Antigone pitted against a legal system that is as implacable as Fate in the original tragedy.
Directed, written and shot by Sophie Deraspe, Antigone had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival last year and won the prize for best Canadian film. It was subsequently selected as Canada’s entry for Best International Film at the Oscars.
In French with English sub-titles. (109 minutes.)
The film is screened on the Irish Film Institute’s video-on-demand service, IFI@HOME.
Please note: an admission charge of €7.50 applies.
Introducing The Ingenious Language: Nine Epic Reasons To Love Greek, Andrea Marcolongo writes that her book demands passion and a willingness to be challenged. 'It’s a literary tale about a few particular aspects of the magnificent and elegant ancient Greek language – its concise, explosive, ironic, open-minded modes of expression.’
It is also a fascinating series of essays, combining history, philosophy and memoir. Written for those who have never studied Greek and are curious, those who have studied it and forgotten it, or anyone reading Greek literature in translation today, The Ingenious Language is a bestseller in Italy and, in translation, has been embraced by readers around the world.
Mary Norris, author of an infectious celebration of Greek culture, landscape and language, Greek To Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen, reviewed The Ingenious Language for The New Yorker magazine earlier this year. In this online event, these two writers share their experience of the exhilaration and revelation of reading Greek.
In partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute and Literature Ireland.
This event will be available to watch online here on Saturday November 14th, 1.15 p.m.
The Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses has influenced painters and sculptors for centuries. Junk Ensemble dance company have turned to this epic poem, written in Latin in hexameters, and chosen one of its mythological tales for their latest work, The Misunderstanding of Myrrha.
In a film made for ClassicsNow these distinguished Irish artists talk about the process of creating choreography drawn from Ovid’s poetic text, and how dance, music and arresting imagery bring to life the experience of Myrrha, who wrestles with her fate.
The solo dance work explores the story of Myrrha, who was cursed by the goddess Aphrodite, then pitied and transformed by other gods. Choreographers Jessica and Megan Kennedy developed this piece with acclaimed visual artist Alice Maher, who created the stage design with them, and composer Denis Clohessy.
Filming and editing: Luca Truffarelli
Performer (pictured): Julie Koenig
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha was commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival and will be staged in the near future.
Supported by Poetry Ireland.
This event will be available to view here from Saturday November 14th, 4.15 p.m.
We will join sparkling novelist, BBC broadcaster and classicist, Natalie Haynes, online on her sofa in London to peer into Pandora’s Jar, her latest non-fiction take on the ever-fascinating women of Greek myth, whom she wrote about so movingly in her novel of the Trojan War, A Thousand Ships.
In this in-depth conversation, she talks to writer and presenter Helen Bagnall about her understanding of myth, elaborating on her new book’s original and witty insights into how the women of ancient myth have been misrepresented through the centuries. Starting with Pandora, the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world, she also reflects on Penelope, Clytemnestra and Jocasta. Her intention is to bring them out from the shadows and place them centre stage.
This event will be available to watch here on Saturday, November 14th, from 7.45 p.m.
The story of Antigone, the young woman who defied the laws of her city-state to do what she thought was right, comes back to us in countless versions, in novels, films and plays. Irish writers, from Seamus Heaney to Colm Tóibín, have been particularly drawn to the drama of conscience and courage that plays out in the original tragedy by Sophocles, and have made many new adaptations and translations of it.
Conall Morrison and Colin Murphy, two theatre-makers who have delved into the conflicts at the heart of Antigone, talk about its resonances and relevance right now, in 2020. Join them for an in-depth conversation online with arts journalist and broadcaster, Paula Shields.
This online discussion will be available to watch on Sunday, November 15th, here, from 2.15 p.m. onwards. No registration required.
See also our screening of a new film of Antigone, set in present day Montreal, on the Irish Film Institute's IFI@HOME video-on-demand service.
Playwright Marina Carr has returned time and again to Greek tragedy in her work, from the ‘midlands trilogy’ -The Mai, Portia Coughlan, By The Bog of Cats - which recast and transposed the stories of Electra and Medea to Irish settings, to Ariel, and most recently, Hecuba. Her new work, The Boy, a six-hour play cycle, will draw on the Theban plays, the trilogy by 5th Century B.C. playwright, Sophocles, portraying the cursed Theban King, Oedipus, and the fate of his children, including Antigone.
Join Marina Carr for insights into the fascination these myths and tragedies hold for her, in an illuminating online conversation with the multi-talented theatre director, Caitríona McLaughlin, who will direct the premiere of The Boy for the Abbey Theatre in the near future.
This event will be available to watch here from Sunday November 15th, at 6.15 p.m.