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Stuck in Bermuda by Covid-19, Faulkenberry grows a watermelon

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Rebecca Faulkenberry with a watermelon she grew during quarantine in Bermuda (Photograph supplied)
Rebecca Faulkenberry waiting to move her things into storage in New York after giving up her apartment in July (Photograph supplied)
Rebecca Faulkenberry at L F Wade Airport waiting for her flight to New York City (Photograph supplied)

After eight months on hiatus in Bermuda, Rebecca Faulkenberry is back in New York City searching for her next acting gig.

Back in March, with many jobs being cancelled by what was then an emerging health crisis, she thought it would be a good time to meet her newborn nephew, Finn.

“I came on a Friday with one carry-on suitcase, intending to stay five days,” she said. “By the Monday, New York had 1,000 cases and then 2,000. I thought, ‘Oh well, I am not going back. I will stay here.’ Then Bermuda closed the airport.”

As the days gathered she started a garden in the backyard.

“Growing watermelons was probably one of my greatest achievements of quarantine,” joked the actress, who has appeared on television in Instinct, Blue Bloods and Madam Secretary and had starring roles on Broadway in Groundhog Day and Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark.

Her recent stay was her longest stretch on the island since high school.

By the time the lease on her New York apartment ended on July 31, LF Wade International Airport had reopened. Unable to find anyone to sublet it, she made a quick trip to the city to put her things into storage.

Early in October there was some confusion over whether people had to quarantine when travelling from Bermuda to New York.

She was relieved when the Centers for Disease Control declared Bermuda’s Covid-19 risk as “very low” on its travel health advisory list.

“Bermuda is no longer on any quarantine list from the CDC, so that makes coming and going from New York so much easier,” Ms Faulkenberry said. “Anyone travelling now will have run into issues with some flights being cancelled and rescheduled. When I left Bermuda last month, I had my flight cancelled and put on an alternate day. My boyfriend’s flight was cancelled coming here – but it’s all doable, and I’m grateful to have any flights available.”

Ms Faulkenberry had just finished playing Edith Olney in the film Martin Eden, based on the Jack London novel, when the pandemic broke out. Studio work for potential parts in Broadway shows also kept her busy as did the classes she taught at Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop.

“I teach voice classes, acting and I do coaching for auditions,” she said. “My favourite thing is to act and teach in tandem. I get something different from teaching than I get from my performing. They balance each other really well. Any time I do just one of them it feels out of balance.”

Her students are generally adults but she gave classes to a handful of children while here.

“There was not much of a market for adult acting and singing in Bermuda,” Ms Faulkenberry said, adding it was great to work with youngsters.

“I feel that having worked on Broadway and in movies I gained a lot of knowledge that I like bringing back to people in Bermuda. I see myself in all of these students.”

On returning to New York she was thrilled to see that, despite Covid-19, the heart of the city was unchanged.

“New York City is different, but it’s still New York,” she said. “It’s encouraging to see what my creative friends are doing to make the most of their time.”

Although television, film and voice-over work is coming back slowly, Broadway won’t reopen until June of next year; actors are drawing on all of their resources to survive.

“[The question becomes] do you have the bandwidth in this waiting period [when there is] not as much work period, to source other creative ways to make money and make a living?” she said.

“I do a lot of different things. I teach, sing, act and do voice-overs, but it is all related to entertainment. I don’t really know anything else.”

The actress added: “The tricky thing with voice-overs now, is that you are recording on your own. Now they are not only auditioning you, but also your equipment and your sound studio. It has to be good enough quality, more or less, to go straight onto television.”

She has had a few auditions since moving back although no roles have transpired.

“But it’s good to see some things happening – now I just have to book one, which is the lifelong actor challenge!”

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Published December 09, 2020 at 7:36 am (Updated December 09, 2020 at 7:35 am)

Stuck in Bermuda by Covid-19, Faulkenberry grows a watermelon

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