William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” If that’s true, Matt Reynolds is a key player at New Mexico State University who makes the magic happen. In the midst of constant activity at the Center for the Arts, where he claims there’s never a dull moment, Reynolds strives for excellence and stays busy fulfilling a number of responsibilities.
As manager of the Center for the Arts, he coordinates use of the space, maintains the building, designs lights and sound for productions, and advises students – all in addition to teaching a couple of courses.
And his work begins long before the curtain goes up on performance day.
Prior to the show’s opening, Reynolds and his colleagues complete two weeks of load in, the process of setting the stage and props. Then they have one week of tech, during which actors, technicians and designers work to improve the show.
“Once the show opens, we get a break,” he said. “Only the actors and the run crew have to be at the performances, so that’s usually our time off. The only time you’ll see any of us looking relaxed is the day after the opening.”
Although he’s only been with ASTC for about 18 months, Reynolds has years of theater experience under his belt. He first caught the theater bug as a child, when he took acting classes. He said he started taking it seriously when he was in high school and began working for professional companies in Atlanta.
Since then, he’s worked at the Cardinal Theatre and Brown County Playhouse in Indiana, while earning his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. He earned his Master’s of Fine Arts degree in production design from Michigan State University, where he studied lighting and sound. Now he is the resident lighting and sound designer for ASTC.
“Las Cruces is a beautiful town,” he said. “Until I got here, I didn’t know the desert could be so beautiful. Everybody in the department is very kind. There’s not in-house fighting, like you might find in other companies.”
Even with all the experience he already has, Reynolds said he’s always looking forward to his next project.
“I haven’t met my highlight yet. Every next show is the highlight of my career,” he said. “As a designer, I’m always changing, always growing. As someone in theater, if you’re not learning something, you shouldn’t be doing that production. There’s no reason to do a show that you can’t learn something from. It’s always a wonderful learning and growing experience for me.”
In January 2013, Reynolds and his colleagues moved into the brand new Center for the Arts building on University Avenue – a state-of-the-art facility with upgraded technology and more stage space than the theater department’s previous location at the Hershel Zohn Theatre.
Reynolds is pleased with the space and said patrons and visiting artists are too.
“The new facility is a nice middle-sized space for all kinds of events. It gives an intimate feeling, which I think can be tricky to pull off,” he said. “It’s not like any other building in Las Cruces. There’s a balance between the earth tones and topography of Las Cruces and the urban cement and steel of New York. People are enthralled by it.”
In addition to the upcoming productions, Reynolds is busy preparing coursework for a new class he’ll be teaching next semester. He described teaching as something he enjoys and wishes to do more of.
“I love everything that I do for theater,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of sporadic years when I’ve had to not be in theater for one reason or another and when I come back, it’s a rush of good feelings. The most rewarding thing is that I get to make the magic happen, the intangible element. I really enjoy that.”
Reynolds and his wife, Mollie, have been married for 12 years. They have two children – Lucy, 5, and 8-month old son, Hugo.
Information from: NMSU