Théâtre La Bordée
1:45 (without intermission)
Théâtre de la Ligue Nationale d’Improvisation (Montreal)
The actors and actresses of the Théâtre de la Ligue Nationale d’Improvisation are used to create under pressure. Number of players, duration, manner, title as a guideline: imperatives abound in a traditional improv game. Here, these sharp and agile minds dig differently. Inspired by the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle)—a French literary group founded in 1960 that made formal constraints the mother of imagination—, the team travelled down several dramaturgical avenues and explored hundreds of possible combinations.
Before each performance, members of the audience are asked to pick various elements from a list of options on their smartphones. Sound environment, lighting, topics, line distribution, prompts like polyphonic narrative or dance-theatre mix… Within this framework, the actors have to create characters, a story and dialogues on the spot. And perform for 90 minutes. Demanding and dizzying? That would be an understatement. But it is also incredibly inspiring. As Charles Baudelaire once wrote: “Because the form is constraining, idea springs forth all the more intense.”