Improvisational theatresports group which bases the structure of its theatre competitions on a hockey game. It was founded in 1977 by Robert Gravel and Yvon Leduc as a part of the Théâtre Expérimental de Montréal (See Nouveau Théâtre Expérimental). In 1980 it became an autonomous company.
LNI competitions comprise two teams of six actors (three women and three men) and a coach who face off on an iceless rink for three 30-minute periods. The game is refereed and an organist provides accompanying inspirational music. Each improvisation is based on randomly selected cards with instructions in respect to subject, style, length, and number of players. The winner is determined by audience vote. Like the National Hockey League, there is a regular season and playoffs.
In 1978 the LNI organized championship matches which were broadcast by Radio-Quebec, and televised in the 1980s, attracting a considerable following. The structure of the competition was emulated in schools, clubs and bars. Since 1981 the company’s tours in Europe have inspired Leagues in France, Belgium and Switzerland – and in Franco-African countries, which engaged in World Cup tournaments.
Although the improvisational games moved more towards the derivative and formulaic, and further away from the experimental, the LNI has fostered many successful Quebec comic actors. In 1998, in association with the festival, Just for Laughs, the LNI returned to television with adaptations of its original hockey formula.
Last updated 2021-03-16