Writer & Director
We were recently kindly given the opportunity to interview Claudio Macor, writer and director of Savage, a new play based around the true story of Nazi doctor Carl Vaernet and his barbaric experiments.
Claudio’s last main project in London was The Tailor-Made Man, here we find out what we can expect from his exciting, but very different, new work.
Claudio, The Tailor-Made Man, was mainly well received when it played at The Arts Theatre back in 2013. The subject matter, 1920s Hollywood, was a little more light hearted than that of Savage. Do you think the storyline of a Nazi doctor and his ‘cure’ for homosexuality will put some people off even before they’ve seen the play?
I don’t think so. I think the people that would be put off by the subject matter would probably just not come anyway. I do, however, believe that there will be a lot of people that will be interested in finding out more about this incredible story.
The story of Carl Vaernet isn’t a well-known one. Peter Tatchell wrote an article about him in The Guardian last year, how was this then developed into the Savage play?
I read Peter’s article and immediately thought I had to write the play. The title was the first thing that came to me. I wrote it quickly as I was like a man on fire wanting, needing, to tell this story. I created the world surrounding the brutal acts.
What do you hope that Savage achieves by telling the story of events that happened over 70 years ago? Would you like to see a formal apology from the British or Danish Governments, who according to Peter’s research, knew of Vaernet’s whereabouts and experiments after the war?
It’s my fervent wish to have an apology from the British and Danish governments, as it is Peter Tatchell’s, but I also want the whole world to know about a crazy Doctor who believed with all his heart and soul that he was doing the right thing, that his belief was wrong and that he got away with it.
What made you introduce the fictional love story element into the play rather than just focus on the known facts?
I did not want the play to be a history lesson, I wanted to humanise it, make it more real, watching real people affected by the Doctor’s actions, making the audience empathise with the lead characters. Because of the love story the play is tragic and very moving.
The swastika stirs a huge amount of emotion to this day yet it’s been used in the publicity for Savage. Do you think this is appropriate?
I agree the swastika does stir a certain emotion but we are dealing with a Nazi War Criminal, it’ll be disingenuous not to use the symbol of Nazi Germany.
If Savage is successful in this run, do you have any plans to develop it further?
I’d love for the play to go on to a larger theatre. The more people who see it, and get to know the story, the better.
Do you have any other projects on the go or in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
I’ve started the process of trying to get my other new play “ZANETTO” (working title) staged. It’s the story of my great grandfather’s life in turn of the century Italy. I called it my Italian Downton Abbey!
In a sentence, sum up why people should go and see Savage?
Because it’s a forgotten story of a Nazi War Criminal with a beautiful love story, that’ll break your heart, which in the end leaves you with a sense of victory and hope.
Claudio, thank you for your time and we wish you every success with the project.
Savage opens on 1st July (previews from 29th June) and runs until 23rd July at Above The Arts. Cast announced includes Alexander Huetson, Emily Lynne, Gary Fannin, Nic Kyle, Christopher Hines and making his professional debut, Kristian Simeonov.
Thanks to Chris Hislop for his help in
arranging this interview.