The story of Lizzie Borden, the Massachusetts woman who “gave her mother 40 whacks” with an ax, according to the grisly rhyme, gets a queer, camp interpretation in playwright Justin Elizabeth Sayre’s Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchet. Fresh off a run at the Los Angeles LGBT Center with Criminal Minds star Kirsten Vangsness in the titular role, Sayre hopes to take the show to New York City.
It’s not the first time Lizzie Borden has gotten a queer interpretation. Chloe Sevigny produced and starred in the dark horror tale Lizzie, in which her Lizzie had an intense affair with the family maid, played by Kristen Stewart. But Sayre’s take is a searing satire that takes aim at religious institutions, the treatment of women as hysterical, and the anti-immigrant sentiment of the era.
“There are so many layers to what both Lizzie Borden represents and also what went on in the cases. There’s this kind of very strong anti-immigrant feeling that was held up in the press and held up in the trial. And as mostly an Irish mutt myself, I thought, Oh, that’s fascinating. Wouldn’t that be interesting to do?” Sayre says.
“Also, there’s been a reckoning around female bodily autonomy. And I wondered what it would be like to…