Behind the Stage: Talking 'A Doll's House' with Assistant Technical Director, Matthew Smith
After a full season of Auburn Theatre at Home, the Department of Theatre and Dance at Auburn University is excited to welcome you back to the Telfair Peet for an exciting season of theatre. Starting off the season is “A Doll’s House”—the timeless play by Henrik Ibsen. This return to live theatre has been fulfilling for our students in a variety of ways. One way being the creation of new roles and opportunities for learning. The first production in our lineup has a new Assistant Technical Director, Matthew Smith, who is stepping into this major role in his third year.
Matthew Smith is a BFA major in Theatre Design Technology with a concentration in lighting. His previous Auburn credits include Sound Board Operator for “Eurydice”, Assistant Stage Manager for “The Belle’s Stratagem”, Wardrobe Crew for “Bring It On”, Assistant Master Electrician and Designer for “Bodies in Motion”, Sound Designer for “Blithe Spirit”, Master Electrician for “Together Apart”, and a Design Assistant for “The Future is Here”. Matthew also is a student staff member working in the scene shop! His favorite Auburn theatrical experience was “Eurydice”. He remembers it being a beautiful set and he loved the plot of the show. Since he worked the sound board, he loved having a great view of the production every night.
When asked what interested him most about working on “A Doll’s House”, Matthew explained how “[working in this position] is an opportunity that you can’t really pass up. I knew it would be a lot of work, but I also knew that having it in my wheelhouse is too good of an opportunity.”
The job started for Matthew over the summer. Once they got the set design, Matthew and Technical Director Matt Gist worked together to break down each scenic element in order to establish how they were going to build them. By the end of the summer, he had started the building process in collaboration with people in town. The next step was putting all the pieces together and assembling the set.
Unique to this production experience, Matthew is now building his own blueprints for set pieces in addition to physically constructing them. As Assistant Technical Director, this has been one of his many challenges. He expressed that the biggest challenge was learning to use Autocad, a system used by the department to build the blueprints. Matthew had to teach himself how to use it over the summer. He explained that he had about two weeks to sort it out before falling behind and he rose to the challenge.
Matthew also shared that the energy in the building has been very exciting. He commented how “Zoom theatre was a solution to a problem, but I do not think anyone preferred that style of theatre. It’s been a big shift of energy and everyone is bringing even more motivation to their work.”
Ultimately Matt feels like people should watch the show if for no other reason than to support live theatre. “We took a big hit last year,” Matt explained, “but it was the theatre industry as a whole and it left a lot of people worried that live theatre would dissipate.” He added, “so come support us and come see this art that we have put together and want to continue to produce. Also, just because it is a fun show! The set is beautiful and lights are amazing and Auburn has great talent in all departments. So come see it!”
There’s still time to watch "A Doll's House". Get your tickets now at theatretickets.auburn.edu.
"A Doll's House"
By Henrik Ibsen
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Scott Phillips
Telfair B. Peet Mainstage Theatre
Thur. Sept. 30 @ 7:30pm
Fri. Oct. 1 @ 7:30pm
Sat. Oct. 2 @ 2:30pm
Sat. Oct. 2 @ 7:30pm
Sun. Oct. 3 @ 2:30pm
Tue. Oct. 5 @ 7:30pm*
Wed. Oct. 6@ 7:30pm
*Talkback after show
Last Updated: October 20, 2021