Upcoming Events


Sophocles’ Antigone – The Most Influential Play of All Time? – Josh Beer

Date and time: Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 7pm (EST) online via ZoomPlease contact Gail Larose at glarose0@gmail.com for Zoom link details.

In this lecture Josh Beer will defend the thesis that Sophocles’ Antigone is the most influential play of all time. As the African playwright John Kani once stated, “Antigone addresses itself to any corner of the world where the human spirit is being oppressed”. Since first performed in Athens c.440 BCE, there may have been as many as a 1,000 translations and adaptations. With the exception of Antarctica, versions of it have been performed on every continent in places as diverse as Alaska and Japan, Brazil and India, Indonesia and Turkey, Iran and Australia, Haiti and Nigeria, to cite but a few examples. While outlining the story of the tragedy’s influence from Sophocles to two recent versions in 2019 (one a film by Sophie Deraspe, set in Montreal, and the other from the theatre by Jeff Ho, a Hong Kong playwright based in Toronto), this talk will concentrate primarily on performance versions, be they dramatic, operatic, balletic or cinematic. Famous names from G.W.F. Hegel, Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, Felix Mendelssohn, Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, and Rudolf Nureyev to Nelson Mandela will form part of the story.

Josh Beer taught Greek and Roman Studies at Carleton for 50 years. He tried to make his lectures a form of theatre in order to elicit from students an emotional response to the subject, as a conduit to a deeper intellectual engagement. The theatre space (i.e., the classroom) served as a crucible for shaping a symbiotic relationship between students and instructor.

Whether teaching Latin and Greek languages or their civilizations, Josh always tried to show how the Greeks and Romans provide useful counter-models for examining and understanding more critically many modern cultural assumptions (linguistic, religious, political, sexual, etc.).From 2002 -2014 Josh directed students, annually, in highly praised, dramatic presentations of Greek tragedy. His book, Sophocles and the Tragedy of Athenian Democracy, was published in 2004. More recently he has given dramatic readings of Homer. His forthcoming article is “The Athenian Plague and Eros as a Deadly Disease in Euripides’ Hipploytus”. The tragedy was performed against the background of a plague that devasted the Athenians from 430-429 BC Beer tries to prove that the tragedian uses Eros metaphorically as a kind of virus. For the Greeks Eros was a disease that takes the form of madness which Aphrodite inflicts on the main characters. Beer draws on the current pandemic to support his argument. In Athens the word pandemos was a cult title of Aphrodite.

“Take a hike from Ottawa to Kingston along the Rideau Trail”, a presentation by
Dr. Brian Grant

Date and time: Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 7pm (EST) online on Zoom
Please contact Gail Larose at glarose0@gmail.com for Zoom link details.
The Rideau Trail is a 300+ kilometer walking (skiing and snowshoeing in the winter) trail that extends from Kingston to Ottawa, roughly following the Rideau Canal.  The trail was developed 50 years ago by two groups working independently in both Ottawa and Kingston who quickly realized their shared vision and joined together to create the trail in a little over 9 months.  The trail is maintained by the Rideau Trail Association, a group of approximately 1,200 people who support and promote hiking while contributing their time to ensuring the trail remains open to everyone who wants to use it.  The Association owns no land, and exists because of the generosity of landowners, public and private, who allow hikers to cross their property.  The landscape the trail traverses ranges from the gentle rolling farm lands of the Ottawa region to the harsh rugged environment of the Canadian Shield in Frontenac Park, north of Kingston.  In addition to its connection to nature, it weaves through areas of historical significance to Canada from Parliament in Ottawa, to our temporary Parliament in Kingston with the Rideau Canal and many buildings from the 1800’s along its path.  Along the way, hikers are guided by bright orange triangles that mark the trail.  Join Brian to learn more about this valuable recreational opportunity in Eastern Ontario.

Brian Grant is the Past-president of the Rideau Trail Association having served three years as President.  Brian retired as Director General, Research for the Correctional Service of Canada following a thirty year research career with the federal government in Ottawa.  He holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Queen’s University, Kingston, following studies at the University of Windsor and Carleton.  He lives in Ottawa with his wife Margaret. Their three children are spread across Canada and Europe from Berlin to Vancouver.  Brian is also an executive member of his local community association with a strong interest in building a sustainable community with access to social and recreational activities, and active (walking) transportation.