Rainbow Crew is an ongoing interview series celebrating the best LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Each installment showcases talent working on both sides of the camera, including queer creatives and allies to the community.
Next, we talk to Buffy alumni Tom Lenk about his new play, Lottie Plachett took an axe.
Tom Lenk is much loved by Buffy fans for his role as Andrew, which expanded from a fun supporting character to something far more integral as each season progressed. But there is so much more to his career beyond Sunnydale.
Digital spy brought up Tom to discuss Buffy and his wider career highlights, including a brand new play called Lottie Plachett took an axe which is currently part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.
Can you talk to us Lottie Plachett took an axe and how did it come about?
Our playwright, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, wanted to do a quirky retelling of the Lizzie Borden murder case from late 1800s America. Lizzie’s parents were found murdered with 40 ax wounds – she became the prime suspect and was vilified in the press, but was found not guilty of the murders.
The case has never been solved. And even if our show is a parody, can it actually solve the case?
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How has the response been so far?
The show has a real John Waters vibe and so I think the audience has been shocked and titillated by the dirty, funny craziness that happens on stage.
Can you tell us more about the queer themes in Lottie?
I play Lottie’s brother, Pansy, who is gay 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 using humor 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 seeing the play?
My stomach hurts from all the laughter!
Looking back on your career as a whole, what are you particularly proud of?
I was lucky enough to do some regional productions “Buyer and Cellar” in the states. It’s a one-man, one-hour, 45-minute play where I have to be a lot of people having conversations with each other, including Barbra Streisand.
In a very funny/dramatic moment, I figured out how to cry only 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 it was really the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, memorizing a 60-page monologue and performing it every night. I’m so glad I was able to rise to the occasion!
Looking back at your time Buffy in particular, is there anything you wish you could have explored more with Andrew who didn’t you get the chance to?
As the only cast member with formal musical theater training (and recipient of the UCLA Carol Burnett Award for Musical Theater Performance), I definitely needed a flashback to an unseen song from the musical episode where I could have put all that Uni training to good use. use!
How was your time Buffy compare with your role on Angel?
I had a wonderful time at Buffyand for the life of me I can’t remember anything from my time Angel except I wished I hadn’t grown my hair out into that horrible hobbit hair!
What would a modern day Buffy View looks 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 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 a lot? Since the show didn’t have a big budget marketing campaign, was it in some ways fantastic free advertising?
I encourage everyone to watch this amazing animated LGBTQ+ show created by Hamish Steele. So much love went into making it, and the more people who watch, the better the chances for another season!
We wish we could have seen more of Charlie Clark in it Batwoman. How did you feel when the show was cancelled?
I wish we could have seen more of Charlie too; I thought maybe he was going to be like the new Alfred? The show was very groundbreaking for queer and POC representation, so I was obviously sad to see it go, but I’m excited to see what’s ahead for the show’s main cast!
Can you remember one particular scene or moment of queer representation on screen? that really touched you personally?
I watched London Spy a few years back and was blown away that it was a gay murder mystery spy show, and it was no big deal that the entire show revolved around queer characters.
During the pandemic I found Borderlinea Norwegian crime series and Coppers/Rough Justice from Belgium, also with leads who 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 going forward?
Me! Let me be a gay detective solving crimes in a picturesque British village, you cowards!
What advice would you give to young LGBTQ+ people struggling to find their place in the world?
Going to therapy changed my life. Whether it’s with a psychologist, counselor, marriage family therapist, social worker, etc., I think it’s a great way to better understand yourself and others and process the many challenges life throws at us.
Lottie Platchett took an axe is currently playing as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe program until it closes on 27 August 2022. Buy tickets while you still can here.