A royal gift

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Courtesy photo
Actor Daniel Garcia, a Denton native who's based in Hong Kong, played Osborn, the son of an English general, in David Greig's "Dunsinane" when the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Shakespeare Company's production came to Hong Kong, May 2-4.

UNT graduate shared stage with U.K. companies in ‘Dunsinane’

Not long after he ended a run of The Taming of the Shrew in the leading role of Petruchio, Daniel Garcia was auditioning for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland.

All this happened in Hong Kong, where the University of North Texas graduate moved almost five years ago to join an acting company.

Garcia got the part of Osborn, the son of a general in David Greig’s Dunsinane. The actor said he got a grin out of being an American in Hong Kong playing the son of an English general.

“So I auditioned for this back in March,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know if I was going to get the part or not because they were looking for young athletic white guys. I’m all right, I’m not buff, you know. I thought about it and was like, ‘I’ll put my name in the hat, see what happens.’

“Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything. I got an email the second week of April saying, you know, something like, ‘We’re interested in your resume, but we need to see more photos.’ I was kind of like, ‘Uh-oh.’”

Garcia said he went on about his work in the off-season Hong Kong English-speaking theater scene. He played the leading man in Taming of the Shrew in a Shakespeare festival produced in Hong Kong. He says he’s also working on a musical through Disney World Family, an English-language educational outreach.

He’s lent his voice to the young male protagonist in Dream Defenders, a 3-D animated show that follows twins Zane and Zoey, who are the last line of defense between the real world and the nightmare creatures of the Dreamworlds. Tiny Island Productions’ series can be seen on Hulu.com and on 3net, a 3-D channel available on DirecTV. The second season’s taping hasn’t begun.

On April 29, Garcia got an email from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland. He had been cast as Osborn, and would perform with the touring company all three days it would be in Hong Kong. The show would open on May 2 — three days later.

“The email said, ‘Here’s the music,’ and rehearsals started at 3 p.m. the next day. So, yeah, not a whole lot of time,” Garcia said. “There was a lot of stage combat that we needed to do.”

Dunsinane picks up where Shakespeare’s Macbeth leaves off. Macbeth is dead, and his wife Gruach — Lady Macbeth — wants the throne for her son. But the Queen of Scotland is up against Malcolm, who defeated and killed Macbeth in the Battle of Dunsinane. The geopolitical strife builds until England steps in, dispatching Siward, an English general, to make peace with the sword, if needed. Greig’s play is a parallel to the messy nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Garcia and the other local actors hired to round out the cast joined the principal actors on tour. Scottish actress Siobhan Redmond played Gruach, English actor Darrell D’Silva played Siward, and Ewan Donald played the role of Malcolm.

Garcia said the three rehearsals were spent plotting out the battle.

“The scene isn’t too long, but there is live archery, smoke and swords,” Garcia said. “We had to go step by step. There was a lot of emphasis on safety. They were really all about our safety.”

Garcia said Dunsinane is more accessible than Shakespeare’s verse, much of which is scripted in iambic pentameter. But the play is written in heightened, proper English.

“It is a very powerful piece, not watered down,” Garcia said. “It has a nice balance of comedy as well.”

He said the experience is more than a highlight on his resume.

“My impression of them overall was obviously really high,” Garcia said. “The staff was amazing. The costuming was amazing. The snow machine in the fourth scene — and that’s a long scene — the snow fell on the stage for almost 20 minutes. It was pretty incredible.”

The National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company are scheduled to bring Dunsinane to the United States in 2015. Garcia said he’d like a chance to play Osborn again next year. Performing with two of the most prestigious theater companies in the English-speaking world has put stars in his eyes.

“I’m kind of finding my own beaten path,” Garcia said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘Maybe I should do Broadway.’ It sounds cliche, to want to go to Broadway, but that was a serious thought for me, for the first time. I mean, why not? It finally clicked that it is a possibility now.”

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.

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