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CENTRE STAGE Bermudian actor making a name for himself in UK

In high school Bermudian Jason Eddy didn’t have much patience for the work of 19th century writer Jane Austen, so it is ironic that he is now using her words to make a name for himself on the London stage.

Since February, Mr Eddy, 29, has been part of a touring theatrical adaptation of Austen’s novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’. He has the role of John Willoughby, a handsome love interest in the story about romantic intrigues of two sisters living in England in the late 1700s. The novel was first published in 1811.

“I tried to read Austen’s ‘Emma’, but I couldn’t get my head around the language and the way it was written,” he said. “Now I have come back to her work I have appreciated it a lot more, although I prefer something darker like Charlotte Bronte’s novels.”

The play is being put on by production group ‘Tennison’s Quirk’. Last year he worked with them on the award winning play ‘Madame Bovary’. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ has also been recognised with three Off West End awards for best sound design, set design and best play.

“With the play, we have been everywhere,” Mr Eddy said. “We were in London in February. We have been to Guildford, Windsor and we will be going to Croydon, Shrewsbury, Chelmsford and a bunch of places. It has been very well received. Last week we played to an audience of 700 which is fantastic. That was one of the biggest audiences I have played.”

He said they have had a lot of great comments from audience members. After one performance a lady told him how grateful she was to be given such a pleasant mental break after the stress of caring for her terminally ill grandson.

“In these times of austerity it is particularly important that people have an outlet to be entertained and forget about their troubles,” said Mr Eddy.

Actors themselves are not immune to the hard economic times. Mr Eddy said it wasn’t easy getting into the entertainment industry in Britain. After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in 2005, he has had long stretches, sometimes up to ten months at a time, without work. To make a living he does a number of other things including work as a DJ and a drink mixologist at celebrity functions.

“I have had to remind myself that an acting career is a marathon and not a sprint,” he said. “It is easy to get very dissuaded if people you know are doing well very quickly and I have had friends doing feature films and television roles. But, as long as I am working and keeping my craft sharp, I am all right. I will be able to make my mark even more. Sometimes it is hard for people to stay in a career if they don’t have immediate success. My advice to anyone younger who wants to be an actor is, unless you completely love it and can’t imagine doing something else, you should try something else that will make you happy.”

He said not everyone becomes a household name or wins an Oscar. Many actors in the industry don’t get top billing, but do it because they love it. However, today’s swiftly changing technology has opened up some new roles for Mr Eddy. He will be performing in a television drama that is designed for iPhone called ‘Persona’. Viewers download episodes over a period of weeks. In Persona he plays a character called Robert who is in love with a girl with a questionable past. It will be airing at the end of the month.

“I do come back to Bermuda, but not often enough,” he said. “I come back every year for Christmas. I am trying my best to get back for Cup Match because it has been far too long since I was there in the summertime.”

Jason Eddy as Willoughby in 'Sense and Sensibility' touring England.

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Published April 16, 2012 at 9:49 am (Updated April 16, 2012 at 9:49 am)

CENTRE STAGE Bermudian actor making a name for himself in UK

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