The Brian Friel Papers

Don't anticipate the ending

Brian Friel penned this note to self whilst writing Dancing at Lughnasa (1990). That these words reappear elsewhere in Friel’s notes suggest that they functioned as a kind of mantra, reminding him not to let the play’s sombre ending influence the tone of the whole piece.

From MS 37,104/1, National Library of Ireland; copyright Brian Friel Estate, reproduced by permission.


Don’t think in elegaic terms.

All these people are spirited – even fiery – full of fight.

Don’t anticipate the ending.

In the final scene I see Fr. Jack + Rose and understand their presence. But Gerry’s reasons for being there aren’t so evident.

Don't anticipate the ending Creative encounters with the Brian Friel Papers

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Presented in partnership with the National Library of Ireland