Rachelle Durkin might have gone too far when she licked the bloody knife during rehearsal.
As the title character in Chautauqua Opera Company’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Durkin descends into insanity before killing her new husband. She has never considered herself a method actress — accessing the thoughts and emotions of the character as if the actor’s own — but Lucia’s extreme persona brought out in Durkin a tendency to become the mad murderess.
“It changes every time, I never do the same thing twice,” Durkin said. “I look in the mirror and see myself with my wig on and blood all over my dress, and try to imagine that I murdered someone. To do it properly, I must conjure up some sort of emotional feedback, but since I’ve never murdered anyone, I have to go on what I’ve seen in movies, or what I’ve seen on ‘60 Minutes’ when they interview criminals. I end up pacing the floor.”