The curtains draw back in the Emerson Studio Theater as the crowd becomes silent in anticipation of the performance they will witness.
One of the actresses they saw perform in the Conservatory production of Dogfight is senior C.c. Wells.
In the play, the dogfight is a gathering where Marines bring ugly dates. The man with the ugliest date is the winner and is given a prize.
Wells took on the role of Marcy, a toothless prostitute paid by a Marine to participate in dogfight, as part of the 2015 fall season.
Wells said she felt an unexpected connection to a character with a personality completely different from her.
“It’s fun as an actor to find roles where you can be a completely different person,” Wells said. “I connect to her personally because she’s actually a pretty strong character. She has a lot of self-motivation and she’s been through a lot but she has her grounds and bearings and knows what she is about.”
Wells began relating to characters from an early age. As the daughter of Linda Weise, a Juliard graduate and CEO and founder of Colorado Springs Conservatory, Wells was always around the theater. Weise witnessed her daughter grow as an actress from a mother’s perspective and a teacher’s perspective.
“When you watch her perform, she’s not your typical drama queen,” Weise said. “She’s a student of life.”
Weise saw her daughter perform as Marcy six times and noticed Wells made the role honest and gritty.
Wells’ childhood friend Katie Zezula flew from Colorado to visit Wells and saw her performance as Marcy. Zezula met Wells eight years ago and witnessed her grow as not just a performer, but an individual.
“She will give you energy if you don’t have any. She is very good at sharing energy, she will lift you up if you are having a bad day,” Zezula said. “She is one of those that will very easily sit under you to bring you up and to help motivate you to bring you farther.”
As the two grew up, Wells challenged Zezula as an artist and pushed her to become a better dancer by understanding theater. Wells said she works to carry on this willingness to push her friends to become better performers in the Webster Conservatory.
“I try to get everyone into a professional mindset, I try to keep the high school theater out,” Wells said. “I try to be as professional as possible because college is just one more step.”
Wells will graduate this May and will embark on her professional career. Her first role following graduation will be Maureen in the musical Rent back in Colorado. After that, she plans to move to New York.
“My mindset in New York is to say yes to any opportunity,” Wells said. “There’s no one telling you what to do now. It’s all on you.”