Nun1    Nun3    Nun2    Nun4

One Extra Solo Series #1, Performance Space, Sydney, 2005

The long shadows of the late afternoon, seduced her along and off the beaten track, into the black darkness of the bush, an unfamiliar eroticism, a sensuous rapture, a transformation.

“The Julie-Anne Long and Sam James collaboration, combines a wardrobe-cum-dressing table replete with photographs, tiny videos, clothing, books and a few intimate possessions that might belong to a nun, all framed by a subjective video journey through a forest screened on the adjoining walls. The delicate, almost sombre ambience is a foretaste of Long’s performance, NUN, next on the dance program that night…

Julie-Anne Long steps inside a habit, adopting a nun persona but without characterisation, just generating an “essence…something to do with the elusive and complex feelings of the eroticism of being alone” (program note). Like the Reeldance installation this is a serious work. There are flashes of humour as the nun dances to Elvis (Take My Hand Precious Lord) or Tammy Wynette (You’ll Never Walk Alone), but each says something more about the moments of freedom in a sequestered life that might seem ordinary to us (or perhaps just as liberating). And some of those moments are ecstatic, as in the Wynette, as the nun leaps and swoops and the light turns white. As in the installation there’s a sense of entering someone else’s private space, this time from a distance, the nun glimpsed at domestic duties through a small window on the Performance Space proscenium arch. But as she draws near the audience, the projected image of the house slips into the distance, the forest around it enlarging, inviting her into free space, ever private even in such openness. But it’s the smallest movements, the little images glimpsed through windows and doors that are the most memorable, declaring the nun’s otherness and self-contained aloneness.” (Keith Gallasch, RT66 )

Concept/choreography/performance Julie-Anne Long
Video maker Samuel James
Composer Drew Crawford
Pianist Jo Allen
Costume Tarsha deSaxe
Lighting Design and Operation Clytie Smith
PA/Stage Manager
and Sound/Vision Operator
Courtney Payne
The Nuns’ Picnic: NUN