Buffy’s Tom Lenk on Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet and his dreams for the future
“Let me be a gay detective solving crimes in a picturesque British village, you cowards!”
Rainbow Crew is an ongoing interview series that celebrates the best LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Each instalment showcases talent working on both sides of the camera, including queer creatives and allies to the community.
Next up, we’re talking to Buffy alumni Ton Lenk about his new play, Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet.
Tom Lenk is widely loved by Buffy fans for his role as Andrew, which expanded from a fun side character into something far more integral as each season progressed. But there’s so much more to his career beyond Sunnydale.
Digital Spy caught up with Tom to discuss Buffy and his wider career highlights, including a brand new play called Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet that’s currently part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.
Can you talk us through Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet and how it came about?
Our playwright, Justin Elizabeth Sayre wanted to do a queer retelling of the Lizzie Borden murder case from the late 1800s in America. Lizzie’s parents were found murdered with 40 axe wounds – she became the prime suspect and was vilified in the press, but was not found guilty of the murders.
The case has never been solved. And though our show is a parody, it might in fact solve the case?
What’s the response to it been like so far?
The show has a real John Waters vibe to it, and so I think audiences have been shocked and titillated by the filthy, hilarious insanity happening on stage.
Can you tell us more about the queer themes in Lottie?
I play Lottie’s brother, Pansy, who is a homosexual a century ahead of his time and he struggles to escape the oppression of his homophobic father, but you know, in a really funny way? Gays are known for the use of humour to navigate difficult situations, and Pansy is quite the navigator. And he has tiny hands, so there’s that.
What do you hope people take away from watching the play?
Sore abdominals from all of the laughing!
Looking back across your career as a whole, what are you particularly proud of?
I was lucky to get to do some regional productions “Buyer and Cellar” in the states. It’s a one man, one hour and 45-minute play wherein I got to be many people having conversations with each other, including Barbra Streisand.
“Audiences have been shocked and titillated by the filthy, hilarious insanity happening on stage.”
In a very hilarious/dramatic moment, I figured out how to cry just out of my right eye so Barbra could have tears streaming down that side of my face, while the other character remained dry-eyed on the left side! [laughs]
But, truly it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, memorising a 60-page monologue and performing it every night. I’m so happy that I was able to rise to the occasion!
Looking back at your time on Buffy in particular, is there anything you wish you could have explored more with Andrew that you didn’t get the chance to?
As the only cast member with formal musical theatre training (and recipient of the UCLA Carol Burnett Award for Musical Theatre Performance,) I definitely needed a flashback to an unseen song from the musical episode, wherein I could have put all that Uni training to good use!
How did you time on Buffy compare to your role on Angel?
I had an amazing time on Buffy, and for the life of me, I cannot remember a thing from my time on Angel except that I wished I had not grown my hair out into that terrible hobbit hair!
What would a modern-day Buffy show look like in your eyes?
It would be called Andrew Wells: The Watcher.
We also loved your role in Dead End: Paranormal Park. What are your thoughts on the conservative backlash to this adorable show?
It’s just wild that these conservatives knew about the show before it even came out? Why are they so obsessed with us? Stalking us much? Since the show didn’t have a big budget marketing campaign, in some ways it was amazing free publicity.
“I definitely needed a flashback to an unseen song from the musical episode.”
I encourage everyone to watch this wonderful, animated LGBTQ+ show created by Hamish Steele. So much love went into making it and the more people watch, the greater the chances of another season are!
I wish we could have seen more of Charlie as well; I thought maybe he was going to be like the new Alfred? The show was very ground-breaking for queer and POC representation, so obviously I was sad to see it go, but I’m exciting to see what lies ahead for the show’s main cast!
Can you recall one particular scene or moment of queer representations on screen that’s really moved you personally?
I watched London Spy a few years back and was blown away that there was a gay murder mystery spy show, and it was just no big deal that the whole show revolves around queer characters.
During the pandemic I found Borderliner, a Norwegian crime show and Coppers/Rough Justice from Belgium, also with leads that just happen to be queer, and it was so exciting to see mainstream programming with queer representation.
What do we need to see more of in queer stories moving forward?
Me! Let me be a gay detective solving crimes in a picturesque British village, you cowards!
What piece of advice would you give to youg LGBTQ+ people who are struggling to find their place in the world.
Going to therapy changed my life. Whether it’s with a Psychologist, Counsellor, Marriage Family Therapist, Social Worker, etc. I think it’s a great way to better understand yourself and others and process the many challenges that life throws at us.
Lottie Plachett Took a Hatchet is currently playing as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme until it ends on August 27th, 2002. Grab tickets while you can still can right here.
Original article at Digital Spy.
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