Luke Thallon stars alongside Patsy Ferran in the world premiere of Camp Siegfried, written by Bess Wohl and directed by Katy Rudd, at The Old Vic.
Inspired by the real Camp Siegfried, which operated on New York’s Long Island in the 1930s. As the world unknowingly sits on the brink of the Second World War, boy meets girl at a summer camp exclusively for American youth of German descent.
Camp Siegfried is at The Old Vic until 30th October 2021. Tickets are on sale here.
You’re starring in Camp Siegfried at The Old Vic, what can you tell us about the play?
I suppose it’s essentially a love story, set during of the one the most gruesome and unbelievable periods in history. Bess has mixed infatuation, indoctrination, the nature of hate and discrimination in with the overwhelming experience of first love. And it’s quite funny, too.
What were your first impressions when you read Bess Wohl’s script?
How the hell am I going to learn all this!
It was written during lockdown but is inspired by real world events of the 1930’s, how do you think these two eras are reflected in the play?
Oh I’m not sure if I can make any truly intelligent links between lockdown and pre-War America… other than perhaps the lack of social ability over the last year enabled all of us to live in our own echo chambers even more.
When you restrict how many people you come into contact with, vanishing down your own rabbit hole is even easier. It takes a lot to sober up and look outwards. In between wars perhaps there was also that inward looking attitude as a result of trauma; how to heal, how to financially recover… which may have led to more fervent, dangerous nationalism. I may be totally wrong, you’d have to ask Bess.
Tell us about your character, and what have you found most challenging about the role?
He’s an axe swirling, beer drinking, proud German-American. I think I’m quite ponderous, he’s front footed and electrified when incensed. Bridging that gap has been fun. I’d love to do more American plays.
You’re working alongside Patsy Ferran, what do you think you have learnt from each other?
I want to Patsy to be in every job I do. I may request it in my contract.
How does it feel to be returning to The Old Vic?
And I’d like every job I do to be at the Old Vic. It’s my favourite theatre.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Camp Siegfried?
Oh, only that I hope you get something out of it. Prepare to watch Patsy Ferran once again do absolutely astonishing, important work. And that I hope Katy Rudd (our director) and Bess Wohl (our writer) become creatives to admire for everyone as much as I admire them! I’m a lucky boy.