By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A playwright who grew up in the area is returning home this month and bringing with her an original Gospel stage play, “Yesterday is Here.”
Arlean Wells founded her own production company, A.N. Wells Enterprise. She writes, directs and produces her own plays, directs productions for other playwrights and also teaches acting and writing courses.
Wells’ new production, “Yesterday is Here,” was first performed in New York off-Broadway and sold out in its run there. The cast features performers coming from New York including Charysh Ranieri, Felix Paulino, Ashley Alexis, Amado Lambert, Jo Ann Green and Marquise Neal. The show will also include a special appearance by Laurinburg native Tyris “Yogi” Jones.
Wells is bringing “Yesterday is Here” to the Seabrook Auditorium Saturday, November 19 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 and available online at Eventbrite.
Wells described “Yesterday is Here” as a Gospel play that talks about the foundations of a family and their relationship with God.
“(It’s about) a mother and wife who is torn between the life she once had and the life she is forced to live. A heartfelt play that will have you laughing, crying, and celebrating life.”
Wells said she and the cast are excited to be bringing the performance to North Carolina. She was also reaching out to local schools with theater programs to include students where possible.
“My goal is when I travel to different states, different areas, is to support the local artists in that area and find opportunities within my production where they can be able to be involved,” Wells said.
Wells herself took her first acting class when she was a young girl, and it led her into a career in performing arts.
“I just fell in love with it. I was able to escape, and just experience a whole new entity of what it’s like to just be someone else and develop characters,” she said. “It also gave me a chance to find my voice. As an actor you’re giving characters a voice, and at the same time you’re learning about your own voice.”
As a young woman, she was inspired to create a free drama workshop at her local library that was open to everyone, young and old. Wells has seen the difference that performing arts can make in the lives of others. Working to teach others stagecraft and creating her own plays is a part of that.
“Once they get into the art of acting you can see the sense of their vulnerability, and the sense of them opening up and using their voice and being able to go on stage and perform in front of so many people – in the beginning they think they can’t do it, but at the end when they hear the applause, there’s a sense of pride that they receive you can’t take away from them, “ Wells said.
“They realize at that moment that if they can perform in front of so many people, they can accomplish much more than they can possibly imagine. Writing and directing are art forms to celebrate the talent and the gift God has given us. It’s also an art form that allows us to step into who we’re supposed to be, our true selves. That’s why I write.”
Those interested can view a video on YouTube about the cast of “Yesterday is Here” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVMvfNV2HNQ or view a trailer for the play at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yseo33pHVRs.
For more information, visit https://anwellsenterprise.com. The Seabrook Auditorium is located at Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Road in Fayetteville.