Give My Regards to Nowhere by Richard Engling – Book Review

Give My Regards to Nowhere by Richard Engling – Book Review

Give My Regards to Nowhere by Richard Engling

Give My Regards to Nowhere
A Director’s Tale

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Dwayne’s got an idea of how to direct Shakespeare’s least-favorite play that could set him on the road to Broadway. We’re talking Bob Fosse choreography, Jimi Hendrix guitars, and the hottest cast in the city of Chicago. But when the show’s producer cuts out with the cash, Dwayne decides to produce the show himself, putting his marriage and his meager finances at risk.

What could go wrong? Well… His stage manager hates him, his set designer usurps him, his leading lady tempts his best friend into adultery, and there’s many a crisis—physical and psychological—on the way to opening night.

Review by George

Poor Dwayne Finnegan. An actor and director steeped in Chicago’s storefront theater scene, Dwayne dreams big. And he has a plan. He will stage Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s bloody revenge play that hardly anyone ever sees in a flashy, stylized manner. His production will include riveting costumes and elaborate choreography, all set to Jimi Hendrix guitars. It will be, he believes, fabulous! But his ultimate goal is to invite Gregor Foxx from New York’s Public Theater to see the show and impress him enough to earn a slot in the Public’s Emerging Directors Program.

Things start going sideways when Dwayne discusses the production with Bobby, the artistic director of Shakespeare and Friends, their theater company. Bobby, he learns, has used the company’s funds to put a down payment on a new life in California—a new life for Bobby, that is. Dwayne finds himself the artistic director of a production company with no money. Now, he must produce his masterpiece on a shoestring budget in a third-rate theater with old, barely functional equipment.

Give My Regards to Nowhere is a comic behind-the-scenes look at life in the small theater milieu. Richard Engling does a masterful job of showing the reader all the moving parts it takes to put on a theater production. Every time Dwayne solves a problem, one or more new ones crop up. He soon learns that directing requires more than just stagecraft. The foibles and phobias of his team become his problems, too.

Engling applies a light comic touch throughout the book. What would be soul-crushing in real life turns out to be pretty funny in his telling. After dealing with a traumatized actress, an insecure costume designer, a missing borrowed sword worth $8,000, and a fling between the star actress and Dwayne’s best friend, one wonders if Titus Andronicus will ever get off the ground. Does it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

At its heart, Give My Regards to Nowhere is a charming story I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Richard Engling

Richard Engling

Richard Engling is an actor, director, playwright, novelist and musician. His books have been published by Penguin/Putnam, Headline House UK, and Polarity Ensemble Books. He played drums with the jazz quartet Midnight Blue for several years. He was co-founder and Artistic Director of Polarity Ensemble Theatre.

Richard holds a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing from Indiana University and majored in Theatre as an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife Gail

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