UNC Asheville Students Star in Local Production of “Night Music,” Written by English Professor David Hopes

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Night Music poster

by Nikolai Wise '21

Professor of English David Hopes’ award-winning plays have been performed throughout the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York. Closer to home at the Magnetic Theatre in Asheville’s River Arts District, two UNC Asheville students, Serena Dotson Smith and Quinn Morris, star in Hopes’ latest play Night Music, which runs through Feb. 17.  

Hopes, an accomplished playwright, poet, and actor, has taught at UNC Asheville for decades, and currently teaches classes in creative writing and playwriting.

“I tell my writing class that I’m sort of a fraud, because I don’t know how it’s done,” Hopes said. “There’s no secret, you sit down, and you write something, and it’s right or it isn’t. If it’s not right, you write it again.”

Both Morris and Dotson Smith are current students of Hopes’ and sophomore drama majors at UNC Asheville. The students are fond of Hopes’ class and admire his work.

“His reality is mythical and his myth is real,” said Morris.

Night Music is about two boys named Jesse and Cleve who are best friends. The story begins when both are 10-year-olds and are camping on a mountain. While the boys are socializing and becoming familiar with one another, a girl in the valley sees the boys and their flashlights. From within the valley the girl decides one of the boys holding a flashlight is the love of her life. But she does not know which one. One of the boys is very athletic and the other is very studious and smart. The play shows the boys’ evolution of friendship as romantic conflicts present themselves throughout time from 10 years old until college.

Morris, who plays the character of Cleve in Night Music, hopes to pursue a career in directing. Later this semester Morris will be directing a production titled Antigonus, also written by Hopes, which follows the continuation of a character from William Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale. Dotson Smith is also interested in directing, as well as lighting and sound production. She speaks highly of Night Music, where she plays an important role as Philomela.

“I’m really glad I went out to audition, it’s a beautiful play,” Dotson Smith said.

Although Hopes did not design the production as student production, he said he values what students bring to the process.

“The skills a student will bring to her acting, you don’t necessarily see those in class,” Hopes said. “The intelligence that makes you good in class is different from the arts.”

The play is being performed at the Magnetic Theater in the River Arts District of Asheville. For more information, visit http://www.themagnetictheatre.org/. Read a recent review of the play at Mountain Xpress