University of Newcastle PhD candidate Leanne Glass looks at how Ancient Drama connects with modern themes, particularly through film.
Leanne’s interest in Classics started ‘by accident’ while she was completing UON’s Open Foundation course. This serendipitous choice has taken her all the way through to presenting at an international symposium at Oxford last month.
Tell us about your background, including what drew you into studying classics?
I’m a Melbourne girl who spent most of her childhood and early adult life living on the Mornington Peninsula, about 90 minutes south of the city. In 1995 my husband started work as a pilot with Qantas and we moved to the Central Coast where we stayed for eighteen years. Recently, due to the workplace tensions at Qantas, he accepted a position with Emirates Airline and we have since moved to Dubai (UAE).
My interest in Classics occurred by accident rather than any specific career objective. A work colleague suggested that I look into taking up some form of study and suggested the Open Foundation course at the University of Newcastle. To meet course requirements I needed to choose two subjects: the first was easy, English Literature and Film but nothing seemed to pique my interest as a second subject. Finally, I chose Classics because the course offered a chance to revise my essay writing skills, which I hadn’t used for a very long time. From the very first day I was hooked on Classics and I haven’t looked back.
What’s been the most unexpected aspect of your work so far?
On the surface many films based in the ancient world do not seem to be a faithful translation yet I have been constantly surprised at the level of commitment and respect each filmmaker has shown to their film’s ancient historical and/or literary origins.
Do you draw on any people or resources for inspiration?
I’m always interested to see how other academics in my field of study have approached the ancient world on film but I can’t say that I’m inspired by any one person or resource; rather, for me, inspiration comes from the positive support and encouragement of my friends and family.
Your research has compared ancient drama with modern film – both Hollywood blockbusters and art films. Do you have a favourite example of how they connect?
Classical Reception Studies considers the ways the ancient world continues to connect with modern themes whether this be through art, architecture, drama, film etc. In the films that I have studied thus far all of them have had a meta-narrative that reveals the filmmaker’s views on current nation-based socio-political themes. For example, this is evident in Zack Snyder’s 300, which used the battle of Thermopylae (480BCE) to make comment on modern tensions between the Middle East and West after 9/11 in 2001.
What are you passionate about? Can others in the community get involved? How?
I abhor animal cruelty in any form and continue to support (even in Dubai) the RSPCA. Becoming involved with an organization like the RSPCA or WIRES is a good place to start while there are other international organizations such as WWF that show great commitment to the conservation of the natural environment and wildlife.
What’s been your proudest achievement to date?
Recently I presented at a Symposium at Oxford. I don’t think it gets much better than that.
What would be your dream project?
I’d like the opportunity to publish my dissertation.
LEANNE’S CENTRAL COAST & NEWCASTLE
What’s your favourite neighbourhood and why?
Living on the Central Coast and regularly travelling to Newcastle has meant that I’ve become familiar with both regions. On the Central Coast I’ve always enjoyed the quiet solitude of Pearl Beach and the neighbouring village of Patonga, while in Newcastle I quite enjoy the open space of Bar Beach.
Can you name a local hero?
There is one type of person that I’m constantly inspired by and it’s someone whose positive attitude and willpower reaches beyond their perceived natural limits. On the Central Coast this person is called Eric Barrett. He’s a teenager who probably doesn’t even see himself as a hero but since he was an infant he has struggled with severe physical impairments. He was told that he would never be able to walk; however, through specialized physical treatments and an amazing personal trainer, Luke Waters, Eric now walks. His new goal is to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for charity to give back all the love and support he has received in the past.
What do you look forward to doing most on the Central Coast in summer?
Walks on the beach at sunset.
Finding a café or restaurant with an open fire and enjoying a full-bodied red wine.
Where and what was the last greatest meal you had on the Coast?
We used to enjoy going to Flair at Erina Heights.
Best place to getaway to?
Peppers Resort at Kingscliff, NSW.
Your #1 Newcastle/Central Coast insiders tip?
I think Newcastle has a great cafe culture, which we have sorely missed since coming from Melbourne.
Do you know someone in our region who is making a difference? Let us know! email@example.com