The team behind West End hit The Tailor-Made Man reunite to present stylish new drama and love story SAVAGE, which uncovers the tragic tale of a Nazi doctor and his ill-conceived “cure” for homosexuality.
In the late 1930s, Danish doctor Carl Peter Værnet discovered what he believed to be “the cure for homosexuality”: injecting testosterone into the testicles of live human subjects without anaesthetic. Dr Værnet was given a prominent post at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, where he experimented on 17 inmates. After the liberation by Allied forces, Dr Værnet was arrested as a Nazi war criminal. However, the British major who interrogated him was intrigued by his “cure”, and the doctor was allowed to flee. He then escaped to South America, where he continued to experiment on thousands of live subjects, with the full knowledge of both the British and Danish authorities. He died in 1965.
In Claudio Macor’s new drama, we meet two young men directly affected by Dr Værnet’s experiments – their glamorous, hedonistic life in 1930s Copenhagen as well as the tragic treatment of one of them by the Nazis.
Værnet is not only one of the forgotten Nazi war criminals, who was never on any Most Wanted list, but neither the British nor Danish governments have ever apologised for aiding him in his flight, nor for allowing his research to continue. He remains largely unwritten about and unresearched, apart from a ground-breaking piece by gay rights activist and Guardian journalist Peter Tatchell in 2015.
I’ll be hosting the post-show Q&A with Peter Tatchell and members of the creative team on Wednesday 6 July 2016. The Q&A is free to all ticket-holders.