Walter Sickert and Meff from the Army of Broken Toys are missing their musical 28 Seeds, which just closed at Boston Center for the Arts. And while I can't speak for you, I'm missing it too. In fact, I completely missed it all together, much to my sadness--especially since I like to pay special attention to intersections of local music and other mediums.
Watch the promotional video here, safe for work, especially if you work with animals.
28 Seeds was the biggest musical/theatrical performance from a live Boston act since Amanda Palmer did Cabaret at A.R.T. But this one was an original work. Frankly I'm not surprised that the show was a success. In some ways, the transition to stage for Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys is an organic one. After all, their live shows already include costumes (at least I think they are costumes) and a strong burlesque element. Gothic folk mixed with punk and Eastern European influences--a lot of which sounds like a more gypsy verison of Pere Ubu to me--Steamcrunk, they call it. Although, I think using a genre to describe the band is more a convenience for journalists than an accurate depiction of what the Army is really up to.
28 Seeds was the story of the end of the world, as imagined by Walter Sickert in collaboration with Broken Toy, Meff. The production was developed in collaboration with Liars & Believers and directed by Jason Slavic. In it, stories, songs, propaganda and advertisements are used to tell the story of an impending asteroid, a government cover-up (surprise, surprise), plague, famine, war, and Earth's final days. All with great original music, no less, that Sickert describes to me as, War of the Rocky Horror Picture Show Worlds. To me it sounds vaguely like something that would be concocted in a booth at Denny's at 3AM in the middle of Arkansas. In the best way. Am I wrong? Not really. "I wrote alone in my closet in 7 hours," says Sickert.
"The entire play is told in "found document" format," says Meff. "So each scene is a memo, or a Youtube post, or a tv commercial, news report, etc. The show actually was developed as the 'anti-showtunes.'" Sickert agrees in this description of the show's alternative approach. "We didn't want to make Cats."
According to Meff and Sickert, the whole thing started as an album, and was developed to a stage show from there (much like Futurity, recently at A.R.T). Don't take my word for it, sink your ears into the whole 28 Seeds album here. It's a blast. http://armyoftoys.bandcamp.com/album/28-seeds-the-last-radio-show
So now what? Is 28 Seeds over? Will I get a chance to see it? What's next? Will the world really end? Will I slow down with the questions?
"We hope 28 Seeds isn't over," says Sickert. "We have a few producers asking us some interesting questions about its future including one wanting to stage it off Broadway, another who wants to bring it to the UK. We've also been approached by a few different people about making a movie, a video game and writing a book... the possibilities are endless. My dream would be to see all of these things happen. More than a few people mentioned it was the next Rocky Horror - I say, get your toast and your Pale Horse pasties ready kids; it's going to be a wild ride!"
And what about Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys? Is this band, this production, this organism, is too big for Boston?
"Sometimes I think this organism is too big for this reality, that's why we created our own," says Meff. "In all seriousness, it was the most amazing experience of my life. Watching something that formed in Walter and my demented brains come to life in such a huge, colorful, hilarious, scary, wonderful way is almost impossible for me to describe."
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About the authorJonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »
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