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Est. 2022

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Bend

institute

of comedy

by Lena Felt - Bulletin Staff

 

Writer-director John Breen, the founder of The Bend Institute of Comedy, is hosting a two-hour ensemble acting workshop on Tuesday at the Redmond Grange Hall. This workshop will “teach you how to dissolve the ego — the greatest obstacle to exceptional acting — and how to get out of your head and ignite a powerful connection between you and your scene partner or ensemble,” Breen said.

 

Breen has been immersed in the acting and improv scene since the ’90s. He started doing improv in Portland, with ComedySportz and then moved out to the Big Apple to study at New York Film Academy and perform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Eventually he found himself back on the West Coast, teaching and performing improv in Portland and Los Angeles.

 

In 2018, Breen and his partner decided to take some time and help a close friend get their equine therapy ranch off the ground in Central Oregon. “So we moved down here, temporarily, so to speak,” said Breen. “And we’re still here. And it’s pretty awesome.” After a short time in Central Oregon, Breen decided to put some feelers out for local interest in improv classes. “I said, ‘I’m just gonna make a leap of faith and see what happens,’” said Breen. “I created a name, created a website and just started and found a space and got listings for a class and before I knew it, it was sold out. So there were apparently a lot of people who wanted to do more improv here.”

 

The first six-week long-form improv workshop recently wrapped up in February and was a success, according to Breen. “It was amazing,” Breen said. “I mean, it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but the fact that it was sold out just blew my mind. I was so excited. There were 14 people in it and other people that I had to turn away. And it was just an incredible group of people.”

 

In addition to this one-time ensemble acting workshop, Breen is teaching more six-week long-form improv workshops beginning in March and April. To find out more about what the Bend Institute of Comedy has to offer check out the website, bendinstituteofcomedy.com.

 

The workshop this upcoming Tuesday at the Redmond Grange costs $30 and is open to those with little-to-no experience acting and those who are looking to touch up on some skills and learn new techniques under Breen. To register for the workshop email improvbend@gmail.com. “Our goal is for each student in our acting classes to walk away with more meaningful and exciting experiences, ultimately leading to greater confidence,” Breen said.

projects.

showcase.

Bend

institute

of comedy

our firST

STUDENT showcase!

plus special guest performers!

plus  

friday June 30

7:30pm

tix avail soon!

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

classes.

summer SEries

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 1

(Prerequisite: none)

6-WEEK SERIEs

jun 26 - jul 31

mons 6:30pm-8:30pm

$295 Tuition

(early bird discount

$265 by June 16)

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

JUST 
ADDED

SPRING SEries

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 1-2

(Prerequisite: BIC Level 1

or experience)

6-WEEK SERIEs

MAR 4 - April 8

sats 10:30pm-12:30pm

 

 

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

SOLD OUT

SPRING Series

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 1

(Prerequisite: none)

6-WEEK SERIEs

mar 22 - May 3

(skipping April 5th)

Weds 6:30pm -8:30pm

hanai center

62430 Eagle rd

Bend, Oregon

SOLD OUT

Bend

institute

of comedy

eight ball

longform improv intensivE IV,V&VI 

(Prerequisite: BIC Level 3

or pre-approved)

LIMITED TO

8 STUDENTS

sun May 21

11:00am-1:00pm

sun May 28

11:00am-1:00pm

sun jun 11

11:00am-1:00pm

$45 Tuition each 

Hanai center

62430 Eagle rd

Bend, Oregon

sPRING Series

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 2

(Prerequisite: BIC Level 1

or pre-approved)

6-WEEK SERIEs

May 10 - Jun 14

WEDS 6:30pm -8:30pm

$295 Tuition

Hanai center

62430 Eagle rd

Bend, Oregon

SOLD OUT

SPRING workshop

 

sketch comedy

writing 

INTRO

(Prerequisite: none))

May 28 Sunday

2:00pm -4:00pm

$45 Tuition 

Hanai center

62430 Eagle rd

Bend, Oregon

Summer SEries

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 3

(Prerequisite: BIC Level 2

or significant experience)

6-WEEK SERIEs

jun 21 - jul 26

-----

weds 6:30pm-8:30pm

$295 Tuition

($225 early bird discount by June 16)

Hanai center

62430 Eagle rd

Bend, Oregon

SUMMER SEries

 

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION 

LEVEL 4

(prerequisite big level 3

6-WEEK SERIEs

JUN 10 - JUL 15

sats 10:30am -12:30pm

$295 Tuition

(early bird discount

$225 by may 27)

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

SPRING workshop

 

screenwriting

short film 

intro

(Prerequisite: none)

)

date tbD

6:30pm -8:30pm

$45 Tuition

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

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Bend

institute

of comedy

Follow us on Instagram!

oregon

institute of

performance

spring series

 

acting

foundation

 

(Prerequisite: none)

date TBD

8-Week Series

6:30pm -8:30pm

$325 Tuition

open space event studios

220 ne Lafayette ave

Bend, Oregon

ongoing series

 

acting

scene study

(Prerequisite: BIC ACTING foundation 

or pre-approved)

date TBD

SUN 10:00pm-12:00pm

$165 per month

open space or Hanai center

bend, Oregon

SPRING workshop

 

Ensemble Acting

workshop 

(Prerequisite: none)

date TBD

tues 6:30pm -8:30pm

$45 Tuition

redmond grange hall

707 kalama ave

redmond, Oregon

summer series

 

Ensemble-created 

performance 

 

(audition required)

8-Weeks / 16 classes

tues 6:30pm -8:30pm

sats 1:30-3:30pm

$425 Tuition

redmond grange hall

707 kalama ave

redmond, Oregon

class details.

LONGFORM COMEDY IMPROVISATION

 

Improv is an art form that stands on its own, with its own discipline and aesthetics. We all go through life every day without a script, responding to our environment, making it up as we go along. Improvising on stage is obviously a little different -- the performers are trying to create while entertaining an audience. At a typical longform improv show, one audience suggestion is taken at the beginning, then the fun begins as the group improvises a 30-minute set where the world unfolds, characters are created, comedic themes are explored, amplified, and connected.

 

Our improv classes focus on honest, grounded scene work, where finding, heightening, and expanding the Game (or hook) of the scene are critical, as developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern at iO Chicago and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and Los Angeles.  

 

Improv classes at the Bend Institute of Comedy are taught by John Breen. John expertly trains his students to be highly cooperative improvisers, with the ability to build a cohesive improv set that relentlessly escalates to a hilarious climax. He encourages his students to care for one another, to be open, decisive, energetic, and authentic. John is constantly striving to build confidence in his students through the approach of Deliberate Practice, created by psychologist Anders Ericsson. This entails rigorous skills training, mental development, honest, authoritative feedback, all the while maintaining an air of lightness, love and excitement. This is why BIC has some of the best improv classes in Oregon! 

Our next improv class series is happening March 2023! It is for beginner to advanced improvisers who want to learn the BIC approach to improv. It will cover vital aspects such as how to Listen Like a Wolf, Get Open and Stay Open, Establish a Base Reality, Play with Heart, Find and Play the Game, and Have Fun While Avoiding Trying to Be Funny!

sketch comedy writing

 

Great sketch comedy can come from many different sources - comedic ideas, character development, theme exploration, improvisation development and more. At BIC, with an emphasis on live sketch, John will show you how to go from a simple idea to a fully written sketch comedy script in six weeks. John's expertise from many years of writing, performing and directing live sketch comedy, appearing at lots of festivals, and producing many videos will guide you to becoming a confident comedy writer.

 

His extensive background in longform improv brings a lively energy, and open aspect to his creative process. John's approach includes teaching vital writing skills, tons of experimentation, and detailed comedic analyzation of some of the best sketch comedy over the past 30 years. He will push hard to bring the absolute best out of each student!   

screenwriting

 

In the BIC screenwriting class you'll learn that no script is good without a stable story structure. Whether it's 5 pages or 105 pages, your story must follow concepts handed down for ages in sources like The Hero's Journey, Aristotle's Poetics, Save the Cat, etc. John will help you tell YOUR story, but in a way that flows, and builds to a powerful, satisfying climax.

 

You'll also learn how to develop the absolute best character to drive your story, and how to make all of your characters believable and interesting. By the end of the six-week series, you'll have your major characters fleshed out, your set-up laid out, and your rough outline completed!  

Class policies

Classes are non-refundable. Improv classes are limited to 16 students. Other classes limit size will vary. We prefer not to allow more than two absences per series. You must be 18 years of age or older to sign up for this course. Bend Institute of Comedy reserves the right to accept or deny any individual's application, and to postpone or cancel class for any reason.

covid

We recommend everyone who takes classes with us be vaccinated, but we do not require a vaccination card. Masks are not required, but if wearing one makes you more comfortable feel free to do so. If the day before a class you think your health might be compromised, or you are feeling ill, please stay home and take care of yourself. Thank you! 

ACTING, SCENE STUDY

& ENSEMBLE ACTING WORKSHOP 

When you study acting at the Bend Institute of Comedy, you'll be working on both dramatic and comedic scenes. Writer-director John Breen will teach you how to dissolve the ego - the greatest obstacle to exceptional acting - and how to get out of your head and ignite a powerful connection between you and your scene partner or ensemble. There is a beautiful, dynamic YOU inside that is unique and capable of raw, energetic storytelling. Typical acting "techniques" using objectives, obstacles, emotional prep, actions, scene analysis, etc., can often get in the way of your best work. 

 

From his twenty-five years of experience as an actor, director, and instructor, Breen knows that with an energized body and an open, fluid state of imagination, you can elevate your listening to generate the thoughts and feelings necessary for each and every moment. Whether you are a dramatic stage actor, a comedic performer, or a film/TV actor, the connection to your scene mates is crucial.

 

The Ensemble Acting Workshop for adults presents John's skillful approach to creating elevated performances, including lots of movement to get the subtle energies in your body to flow, dissolution of the ego, visualizations, enhanced focus to get you listening, improvisation, tapping into the depths of imagination and creativity, and expert execution of Anne Bogart's Viewpoints to build synergy.

 

Our goal is for each student in our acting classes to walk away with more meaningful and exciting experiences, ultimately leading to greater confidence! 

PRIVATE ACTING LESSONS

& AUDITION PREP 

A more concentrated and individual approach to acting training can really boost your momentum and build your confidence more expediently. Also, if you have an audition coming up, either for stage or camera, John can help you hone in on making every second count in the room, by showcasing your strengths and finding a fresh take on the character. 

corporate & workplace team building

Why have a team building improv workshop at your business? Intolerance of uncertainty has been implicated in psychological issues like depression and anxiety, arguably, the two leading reasons why people are uncreative and unproductive at home and at work. New studies show that improv is a very important social/emotional tool. Positive effects come from improv's demands to collaborate, be in the moment, be playful and imaginative, and tolerate uncertainty. By building confidence, improv will improve everyone's social skills.

 

When a company introduces the Improv Mindset into the fabric of its environment, employees start breaking out of their shells, they start really communicating, they learn to roll with the punches better, and gain new skills that enable them to attack a project head on even when it is difficult. When a human being opens up and starts trusting themselves, they worry less about making mistakes or being judged, and make the kind significant contributions to the organization that make a real difference. Not to mention how much communication improves when all of these skills are