Polarity Ensemble Books


A Dwayne Finnegan novel

by Richard Engling

In this hilarious follow-up to Give My Regards to Nowhere, Chicago director Dwayne Finnegan has another crack at the big time if only his production of Romeo and Juliet can shine. However, Dwayne shares rehearsal space with a cult that takes trips on LSD-like ayahuasca and believes Dwayne’s production is evil. The cult sabotages him. His actors rebel. His publicist gets entangled with a loan shark. Bones are broken, the production drops into chaos, Dwayne’s marriage hangs by a thread, but despite it all, the show must go on.

"Richard Engling knows Chicago's famously chaotic and glorious storefront theater scene like the back of his hand. It's the perfect setting for absurd comic hi-jinx."
– Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, author of Rise Up! and Bigger, Brighter, Louder

Praise for the Dwayne Finnegan series:

“As Carl Hiaasen does with his Florida-based satirical crime novels, Engling’s gloriously silly narrative allows his readers to witness how the sausage gets made, which isn't always pretty but is often eye-opening. Engling’s satire on storefront theatre is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.”

“The chaotic shenanigans conceal a tightly constructed plot full of vivid dialogue that hones to comedy’s fundamental principles: pleasure, surprise, folly, luck both good and bad, and a celebration of human ingenuity and resilience.”
Evanston RoundTable

“The rollicking ride through the underbelly of the acting world and the determination of a man who sees his world fall apart and come back together in a new way as the show goes on will attract anyone interested in drama, theater, Chicago backdrops, or a drive to succeed against all odds.”
Midwest Book Review

“A longtime denizen of Chicago’s famed storefront theater scene, Engling vividly captures the disparity between grand artistic ambition and what reality has to offer in this very funny, briskly written, and often touching book. Fans and inhabitants of Chicago’s (or any city’s) theater scene will feel right at home, but so will any reader who has held tight to a chimerical dream they firmly believe must be within reach.”
– Mark Larson, author of Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater

“A scrappy, big-hearted backstage comedy layered with mordant wit and full of a deep, abiding love for its characters, which is wholly appropriate for a story set in the scrappy, big-hearted world of Chicago theater.”
– Adam Langer, author of Cyclorama

“The technical virtuosity of Give My Regards to Nowhere is performed like prestidigitation: it’s a magic trick performed in plain view. The novel is comic, wise, and riveting. It gives us the theatrical world, but also the world of anyone who has ever struggled against the odds.”
– Liam Heneghan, author of Beasts at Bedtime

“Without a doubt, the best examination of the theatre trade I’ve ever read. Insightful, satirical, painful, but joyous. Richard Engling brings a wonderful cast of characters together in a way theatre kids and non-theatre kids can thoroughly enjoy.”
– Darren Callahan, dramatist for the BBC and SyFy

“Hilarious, witty, touching, intelligent, and spot-on. The characters pulse with life, conflict, tons of drama, and humanity. Entire chapters are laugh-out-loud funny, and issues of marriage, friendship, loyalty, and the nature of theater and art flow through every sentence.”
– Nadeem Zaman, author of The Inheritors and Up in the Main House and Other Stories

"A scrappy, big-hearted backstage comedy layered with mordant wit and full of a deep, abiding love for its characters, which is wholly appropriate for a story set in the scrappy, big-hearted world of Chicago theater."
– Adam Langer, author of Cyclorama

Richard Engling
Richard Engling

About the author

Richard Engling's writing career began in high school when his coffee shop theatre group needed material to perform, and he was elected to write it. He's spent a lifetime writing and performing, paying his bills as a teacher, truck driver, and copywriter, while performing as an actor, drummer in a jazz quartet, and director. He founded Polarity Ensemble Theatre in Chicago in 2004 and served as its Artistic Director for twelve long and confusing years. His dystopian detective thriller, Body Mortgage, was published by Penguin Books USA and Headline UK and has been rereleased in a revised edition by Polarity Ensemble Books. His novel, Visions Of Anna, and play, Anna in the Afterlife, appeared in 2014 as part of the ambitious Afterlife Trilogy. His first Dwayne Finnegan novel, Give My Regards to Nowhere, appeared last year. His plays have been produced in the US and England, and he continues to work as an actor, playwright, and novelist.

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