York professor’s work is part of anniversary celebrations of Odin Teatret

An exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in Holstebro, Denmark, is among the many events which will take place during the month of October to honour the 40th anniversary of Odin Teatret. The legendary Danish theatre was founded by the esteemed theatre director and theorist Eugenio Barba.

Right: The Odin Teatret

York Professor Judith Rudakoff, from the Department of Theatre, is a dramaturg, author, critic and playwright who has worked across Canada and internationally for more than 20 years. Rudakoff was invited by organizers to participate in the international exhibition celebrating the theatre’s anniversay. The exhibition, which opened Oct. 1, will feature LOMO photographs by Rudakoff and a piece of text she wrote and recorded.

LOMO is the acronym for Leningrádskoje Optiko Mechanitschéskoje Objediniénie, an optical equipment manufacturer from the former Soviet Union. The company supplied Russia and the communist states with optical equipment – primarily cameras – up to the mid-1980s. The LOMO Compact Automat camera, which Rudakoff uses to create her images, has an established reputation for being a well designed camera with a unique wide angle lens that captures and distorts images in a large frame format.

Left: Judith Rudakoff

Rudakoff was drawn to the legendary LOMO camera because of its features and format. “Lomographs tell a story rather than frame an image. They allow interpretation and entry into the world of the moment because of the distortion of colour and focus, and the unpredictable nature of lomography. The resulting lomograph often offers an unexpected perspective on a visual image,” explained Rudakoff.

The element of unpredictability inherent in the process of taking a LOMO photo gives many of them an atmosphere and tension that is often missing in conventional pictures.

Right and below: LOMO images by Judith Rudakoff

Dramaturgs, through their written work, leave a detailed documentation of the productions they work on, which can prove quite valuable to those attempting to do research the production in the future. Rudakoff’s images and written work provide a valuable archive of the productions she has been involved with over her career. Without the work of dramaturgs, often newspaper reviews are often the only lasting documentation of a production.

A similar element of history and documentation of unpredictability is part of the history of the Odin Teatret theatre. The theatre, has over its 40 year history, developed a reputation for being a dynamic, living “theatre laboratory”. As a base for performances, research, pedagogical activity, intercultural and interdisciplinary networking for actors and artists from all over the world, it has earned a similar cult reverence as the LOMO Compact Automat camera.

Rudakoff’s images will be keeping good company in Denmark. They will be shown alongside the likes of “an outstanding collection of modern Danish art from the 20th century, a room with Picasso graphics, and an extraordinary collection of African masks and works from international contemporary artists,” said Danish artist Carolina Vallejo who is curator of the exhibition.

Additionally, Rudakoff will be one of two Canadians among 60 international participants in a symposium titled Why a Theatre Laboratory? Co-organized by Odin Teatret and the Theatre Laboratory Studies program at the University of Aarhus, the symposium, which began on Oct. 1 and runs until Oct. 6, is taking place in Aarhus, Denmark.

Rudakoff has worked across Canada and internationally for more than 20 years. A former literary manager and resident dramaturg for Toronto Free Theatre, Canadian Stage Company and Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, her research and publications are primarily in the field of developmental dramaturgy, contemporary Canadian theatre and dance, and performance in Cuba and South Africa. 

For more information on the anniversary celebration and exhibition, visit the Web site for the Museum of Modern Art in Holstebro, Denmark (in Danish only).