What does it take to turn our little Reid Black Box into a spinning, whirling shape-shifting set? The answer is helping hands, elbow grease, and someone who has mastered the art of theatrical building. Enter Deerfield Theater’s Technical Director, Paul Yager.
Mr. Yager has been at Deerfield Academy for thirty school years, meaning Mr. Yager has been bringing sets to life since December of 1989.
When asked to describe his job, Mr. Yager said, “I am the Technical Director for the Theatre Department… I’m also the scenic designer, lighting designer, and sound designer for all the theatre productions at Deerfield Academy.”
Without the hard work of Mr. Yager and the tech team, the audience, as observers of the hard work and theatrical expression of the actors, would not be able to see, hear, or engage with the play as seamlessly.
He truly loves doing set work at Deerfield, and found it hard to choose just one favorite set, considering he has worked on close to ninety, but he remembered The Diary of Anne Frank, produced twice in his time here, as one of his favorite productions.
He then listed some of the most substantial Black Box transformations.
“All My Sons, where we built a house and put a real grass lawn in the theater,” he said, showing a photo of a life-size home in the middle of the Reid theatre.
“Metamorphoses where we built a pool in the middle of the Black Box,” he continued, pointing to another photo.
Other highlights mentioned include a beautiful sun piece suspended from the ceiling along with a sand box covering the entire Black Box floor to elevate the presentation in a production of Medea.
The Yagers are a Deerfield family. Sandra Yager, Mr. Yager’s wife, is the Campus Stores Manager—the mastermind behind the logistics of the Hitchcock and Athletic stores, as well as the Deerfield online store. Mrs. Yager is also responsible for the many exciting games and events that we enjoy via the Hitchcock house.
The Yagers have two sons, one of whom attended Deerfield and one who did not.
Their son, Kyle Yager, graduated from Deerfield in 2005 and was a four-year student as well as a committed member of the theater program, and he went on to be a theater major in college. Later, he worked as a prop manager for the Blue Man group.
Mr. Yager loves his job, but also has plenty of hobbies that are a bit different from his day-to-day work.
“I have a new Jeep that I’m working on restoring. I enjoy beer-making and hard-cider making. And, I enjoy my new grandson,” he said.
He also has a dog named Bella. He said that her full name was “Belle of the Ball,” and was quick to express gratitude for having her for the past eleven years.
He finished the interview with a smile, saying, “I love working at Deerfield Academy.”