MR. SICKERT: apocalypse obsessed.
Throughout history, influential entertainers such as Stanley Kubrick, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and the dudes who wrote the Bible have peddled theoretical final chapters to history. But unlike Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, those people lacked the gumption to envision the end times as an all-singing, all-dancing multimedia spectacular. "Ever since I was a little kid, I have been obsessed with the apocalypse," says Sickert. "I don't know if it was from being thrown into Catholic school when I wasn't baptized, then kids finding out and chasing me around with Bibles; or from when I grew up in a boat and the boat burnt down. But it's fascinating how multicultural the idea is."
The dirgey darkness of the Toys' art-rock rightly foretells that 28 Seeds — a musical coproduced by the Toys and avant-garde troupe Liars and Believers — ain't Guys and Dolls. Sickert's dreams of dystopia interfuse with a saga incorporating the proliferation of mechanical trees, nationalistic fury against Canada, a terrorist organization with a sexy secret, and a disembodied human brain that could save us all. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't.)
Despite the Toys' renowned penchant for theatricality, the two-time Readers' Poll winner for best artist and his longtime accomplice Edrie guesstimate that they've seen only three or four stage-plays within the past 10 years. But at the behest of Liars and Believers, they consented to convert the 28 Seeds radio play into a live spectacle a few years ago. Notable credit goes to the Toys' in-house playwright and mandolin player, known as "Meff."
"People like to scare themselves into doing things," says Sickert. "It's a great excuse, you know? 'The world's going to end! Let's make as much art or fuck as much as we can or —' "
" 'Repent!' " Edrie chimes in sarcastically. Adds Sickert: "We know the end of the world will happen to all of us, individually, because of death. No one gets out of that."
28 SEEDS | Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston | Until May 12 | 16+ | $35 | 617.426.5000