Premiered at National Theatre, Melbourne, October, 2000.
In 2000, Lucy Guerin made her debut at the Melbourne Festival with The Ends of Things. This work centres around the life of an older man who lives alone in a small house and is slowly losing his grip on reality. Three dancers represent the central character’s state of mind and invade his small domain, finally tearing it down and consigning him to the empty expanses of an unbordered stage. This work was more narrative in content and form than Guerin’s previous works and made use of character, metaphor and expressionistic movement.
Endings are represented throughout the performance, from fading codas of well-known soundtracks to ordinary daily endings such as the milk running out. Guerin described wanting to explore the ‘emotional resonance of endings both visually and aurally’. The Ends of Things achieves this through the soundscape of repetitive beats, fading melodies and ending records, and the three dancers disrupting and destroying a small, dull life of routine and ordinariness. The performance climaxes with the dancers encroaching on the enclosed world of the main character, collapsing the boundaries between reason and chaos.
Critic Hilary Crampton described the work as “demonstrating both depth and complexity using current styles of movement, sound and design to reach beyond the surface of contemporary fashion, to reflect deeper social issues” (The Age, 23 October, 2000). There have been several articles written about the process and outcome of creating this piece of work, all of which are available in the Lucy Guerin Inc archive.
The show was almost cancelled after the death of her collaborator, composer and friend Jad McAdam who had sparked the idea for The Ends of Things. McAdam and Guerin had developed the idea for the work based around the sounds of everyday ‘endings’, such as the tone of a disconnected telephone or the crackle of vinyl at the end of a record. After his death, many of the ideas Guerin had discussed with McAdam remained in the work, but the music was commissioned from composer Franc Tetaz.
After debuting at the Melbourne Festival in October 2000, the work then toured internationally with Melt to Germany in 2001 and the US in 2003. The Ends of Things won three Green Room awards in 2001 for Best Dance Theatre Work, Best Female Dancer (Ros Warby) and Best Male Dancer (Trevor Patrick).
While this is a work that was made under tragic circumstances and deals with the disintegration of another life, it is not a completely bleak piece; there is humour and beauty in it too. Dedicated to Jad McAdam, The Ends of Things is a moving tribute to this talented composer.
Premier – October, 2000: National Theatre, Melbourne during the Melbourne Festival.
23-24 June, 2001: Ludwigsberg Festival, Germany.
16-17 June, 2001: Fabrik, Potsdam, Germany.
4-9 March, 2003: On the Boards, Seattle, US.
11-14 March, 2003: On tour with Melt, PICA, Oregon, US.
18 March, 2003: On tour with Melt, Duke University, Durham, US.
28-29 March, 2003: On tour with Melt, Diverseworks, Houston, US.
5 April, 2003: On tour with Melt, Miami Light, Miami, US.
8 April, 2003: On tour with Melt, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada.
10-13 April, 2003: On tour with Melt, Dance Theatre Workshop, New York, NY
13-15 November, 2003: On tour with Melt, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
18-23 November, 2003: On tour with Melt, Sydney Opera House Studio, Sydney.
28 November, 2003: On tour with Melt, West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul, Victoria.
“…choreography that is as precise and inexorable as a sewing machine and as evocative as a dream.”
Jennifer Dunning, New York Times, 2003.
Images: Jeff Busby