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 firstname.lastname@example.org. “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.