The US playwright’s new drama, at the Old Vic in London, is a tragicomic romance amid swastika-shaped flowerbeds. She talks about finding a dark past on a trip to Long Island
In May 2020, the playwright Bess Wohl rented a house in Bellport, Long Island, a bayside village an hour or two from Manhattan. This was during the early months of the pandemic, when Wohl found herself running an impromptu summer camp for her three young children. With what little downtime she had, she began to Google the history of the area, becoming curious about a nearby town called Yaphank.
In the 1930s, Yaphank hosted a summer camp for German-American youth who dressed in brown shirts and jackboots. They marched along Adolf Hitler Street and Goebbels Street, greeting one another with cries of “Heil Hitler”. Flowerbeds were planted in the shape of swastikas.