OffWestEnd talks to Eve von Elgg who is appearing in ‘The Boy’ at Soho Theatre, from 17 October until 4 November

Eve von Elgg trained at East 15 Acting School where they were on the ‘Acting and Contemporary Theatre’ course. They graduated in the summer of 2023 and are really excited that this production marks their professional debut. 

What first attracted you to the theatre?
I was always a kid obsessed with stories. My favourite places were curled up under the duvet, way past bedtime, with a book in my hands, and outside playing make-believe with my friends, imagining fighting dragons and lightsabre battles. When I started drama at secondary school, I realised theatre was a space where you could become part of stories, invent, express and imagine, and that almost child-like ‘play’ was possible again. I haven’t been able to let it go since.

What was the most inspiring performance you have ever seen? Why?
I saw Denise Gough in ‘People, Places and Things’ as a teenager. She held a mix of vulnerability and power, and, for me, it was the first time I was truly astonished by an actor’s performance, and I was blown away. A woman not telling a story of what it was to be a woman, but rather an actor telling a human story.

What piece of work that you have been involved with are you the most proud of?
In the final year of East 15 on the Acting and Contemporary Theatre course, there is festival of new writings by new directors called Debut Festival. A play I had written, ‘How to Eat Dog’, was selected for the festival and I acted in it. With that process I got to perform something that I had privately dreamed up and witnessed as it came to life and was shared with people. When I saw how the play seem to move some people, that themes of things I had struggled with connected with them, and that experience was magical to me.

What things in your personal life do you draw from when you perform?
I draw from the strangers I meet, the performances I consume and the characters that make up my family, (and it’s a very characterful family!). Everyone you meet has their eccentricities and peculiarities and I think so should the characters I perform. 

What got you interested in this production (The Boy)?
I got interested in The Boy as it seemed to be exploring something rare: the idea of chosen family.  It’s not a play about romantic bonds or a piece that is centred on biological family, it is centred around three complicated individuals choosing, for better or worse, to connect with, and belong to, each other. I really wanted to see how a lone boy would collide and come together with these two lonely adults— how those complicated relationships would play out.

A lonely man and woman who had lost a lot, how they come together and collide with each other in a new and possibly lonesome world.

What character are you playing in this production? Are there things you can relate to in your character?
I am playing ‘the boy’, an unaccompanied 8-year-old refugee child who is just arriving in a new country. He’s formed a friendship with an older man, and they navigate their lives in this new country together.

I had the experience of being a child and emigrating to a new country, I moved from Cambridge where I was born, to Texas in the USA when I was just about to turn seven. Although it was under much different circumstances, and to a place where I spoke the language, some of the feelings were the same. As a kid leaving your home country, you’re uncertain, scared and confused. You’ve been told a story of where you’re going that you can understand, but of course the reality is different. I can definitely connect to being somewhere unknown and adapting to fit into a culture that isn’t my own.

What can the audience expect from this production (The Boy)?
Audiences can expect to have their hearts warmed and their heartstrings plucked. It’s a play that reflects the true turbulence of three human’s lives: whilst there’s struggle, pain, and loss there’s plenty of joy, laughter, and love amidst it all.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to with this production?
I’m most looking forward to sharing this story. This is a new play, and it will be the first time these characters come alive and the first time their stories are told. That’s something really special, as is this play.

‘The Boy’ is at Soho Theatre from 17 October to 4 November: