Gary Mathews

Picture of Gary Mathews

Teaching Associate Professor

  • Email: gary_m@ncsu.edu
  • Phone: 919-515-9306
  • Address:
    Withers Hall 227, Box 8106
    NCSU Campus
    Raleigh, NC 27695

Biography

My interests lie at the intersection between academic research and teaching and theatrical performance. I taught for twelve years at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before coming to NC State six years ago. After many years of ballet, I began training in Classical Japanese noh theatre performance fifteen years ago. I am a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku, a professional company dedicated to creating and performing original English language plays in fully traditional noh style. My research is concerned with the social role of the performing arts, with a focus on noh and Greek tragedy. My teaching at State covers Greek and Latin language, literature and culture. It is always my foremost goal to lead students to see cultural practices of all kinds as ways a society produces and acts out images of itself for purposes of self-examination as well as diversion and pleasure.

Teaching and Research Interests

Greek and Latin Literature, Japanese Noh Drama, Comparative Drama Theory, World and Comparative Literature

Projects

My research is currently focused on the following:

1) A study of the Confucian influences on the drama theory of the fourteenth-century Japanese noh master Zeami. Scholarship both in the West and Japan has heretofore concerned itself mostly with Zen Buddhist influences on Zeami. My study seeks to show that Confucianism was an equally compelling influence, and perhaps the fundamental one.

2) A comparative study of the drama theory of Zeami and Aristotle. My main concern here is with the social functions of noh and Greek tragedy, as reflected in the ways of approaching and discussing the two art forms by their leading theoreticians.

3) A study of acting style in ancient Greek tragedy. My thesis is that acting styles were proabably far more realistic than is generally supposed. This becomes evident not only when tragedy is considered alongside the highly formalized performance style of Japanese noh, but also when we take into account tragedy's associations with other contemporary discourses such as oratory and historiography. I want to show that there is a strong "realist" bias in ancient Athenian social and artistic practices that comes out most clearly when those practices are considered in comparison with those of another culture with fundamentally different aims and usages.

Publications

2015            “The Masks of Nō and Tragedy: Their Expressivity and Theatrical and Social Functions.” Didaskalia 12: http://www.didaskalia.net/issues/12/3/.

2013            “Zeami's Confucian Theatre.” Asian Theatre Journal 30: 30-66.

2002            “Non aliena tamen: The Erotics and Poetics of Narcissistic Sadomasochism in Propertius 1.15.” Helios 29: 27-53.

1997            “Aristophanes’ ‘High’ Lyrics Reconsidered” (response to M. Silk, “Aristophanes as a Lyric Poet,” YClS 26 [1980] 99-151). Maia 49: 1-42.

1997            “An Atypical Exemplar: Zeami’s Noh Drama Yamamba.” Symposium of San Francisco State University Department of Humanities 4: 47-56.

1996            “There For Me: Interpersonal Connection and Separation in the Noh Drama Hagoromo and the Ballet Our Town.” Symposium of San Francisco State University Department of Humanities 3: 96-101.

1995            “Walter Benjamin's Origin of German Tragic Drama and the ‘Baroque’ World View of Euripides and Thucydides.” Magazine of San Francisco State University College of Humanities 13: 77-91.

1994            “Finding What One Wants: Desire and Interpretation in Euripides’ Iphigeneia at Aulis.” Laetaberis n.s. 10: 25-49.

Presentations

Recent Presentations:

“Noh Musical Performance as a Japanese Cultural Practice.” Annual Conference, New England Association for Asian Studies, University of Connecticut, October 4, 2014.

“Noh Theatre Performance in Relation to Other Japanese Arts and Education.” Invited Talk, Asian Studies Colloquium: Performing Culture in East Asia, Bridgewater State University, MA, October 3, 2014.

“Theatre Nohgaku’s Rehearsals of Blue Moon Over Memphis: The Rewards of Trusting the Form.” Annual Conference, Association for Asian Studies, Philadelphia, PA, March 27, 2014.

“Introduction: the Confucian Context,” panel on “Noh Help in Translation: Pedagogy From Across the Pacific.” Annual Meeting, Southeast Conference/Association for Asian Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC, January 18, 2014.

"The Masks of Noh and the Masks of Tragedy." Ancient Drama in Performance II, Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA, October 7, 2012.

“Dramatic Purpose and Acting Style in Greek Tragedy and Japanese Noh Drama.” Biennial Meeting, Classical Association of the Middle West and South—Southern Section, Richmond, VA, October 30, 2010.

 “Remembrance of Wars Past: The Trojan War and the Fall of the Heike in Greek Tragedy and Noh Drama.” Annual Meeting, Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Minneapolis, MN, April 2, 2009.

“The Successful Citizen or the Harmony of the Realm? Drama Theory and Society in Aristotle and Zeami.” Biennial Meeting, Classical Association of the Middle West and South—Southern Section, Asheville, NC, November 14, 2008.

Responsibilities

FLL Classical Studies Coordinator

UNC Online Greek & Latin Course Exchange Scheduling Coordinator

 

Education

  • PhD in Classics and Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, 1992