About the project
‘Don’t anticipate the ending’ is an Irish Research Council and Arts Council Ireland funded collaborative practice-based research project by academic researcher Dr. Zosia Kuczyńska, dancer-choreographer Jessie Keenan, and performance-maker Robbie Blake.
Focusing on the creative process of Irish playwright Brian Friel as revealed by his literary archives at the National Library of Ireland, it asks whether one artist’s ways of working can generate new ways of making art for contemporary practitioners through archival engagement.
In this way, the project aims to set a major creative legacy in motion whilst laying the groundwork for future archival projects that seek to understand and transmit cultural knowledge through the body.
Three years, a pandemic, and many reinventions later, the project has produced two original films, the beginnings of an evolution in the creative and scholarly practices of the project leads, and a rich archive of its own.
This exhibition sets up a space for encountering that archive, allowing users to explore the connections between Friel’s own fascinating writing process and the contemporary experiments in dance and performance it has helped to inspire.
Curator Dr Zosia Kuczyńska
Dancer-Choreographer Jessie Keenan
Performance-Maker Robbie Blake
Creative Direction Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Digital Producer Ian Dunphy
Developer Stuart Cusack
Acknowledgements The Estate of Brian Friel; Katherine McSharry, National Library of Ireland; Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, Boston College; Simon Blakey & Peter Kandunias, The Agency.
Images of the Brian Friel Papers, held at the National Library of Ireland, are reproduced by kind permission of the Brian Friel Estate.
Don’t Anticipate the Ending was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Irish Research Council, Cavan Arts and Dublin City Council and was co-produced by the MoLI, Smock Alley Theatre and Tonnta. Research was supported by Dance Ireland, Humanities Institute (University College Dublin), the National Library of Ireland and the Brian Friel Estate. MoLI's digital programming is supported by Ebow, the digital agency.
This collaborative practice-based research project has had an impact not only on the artistic practices of its creative leads but also on the scholarly practice of its academic researcher.
This is an extract from a conversation in a WhatsApp group in which Jessie Keenan, Robbie Blake, and Zosia Kuczyńska communicated sporadically about the project.
So what is surfacing
This film, directed by Jessie Keenan, is set in the stunning surrounds of the Museum of Literature Ireland. Three dancers - Lucia Kickham, Marion Cronin, and Sarah Ryan - move between their individual interior world and their collective exterior world.
Running the ending
This is a film, directed by Robbie Blake, about exhaustion, self-expression and joyousness. Blake’s score uses a graphic notation to represent three states: run, reset/shake-out, dance.