Ellen McDougall directs her vivid adaptation of Valeria Luiselli’s dazzlingly original debut novel Faces in the Crowd, a bold and playful multi-layered story about identity, poetry, and nationality.
The cast includes Jimena Larraguivel (TV’s Apple Tree Yard/ RSC’s Day of the Living) as The Woman, Neil D’Souza (Beginners/ TV’s Humans) as Husband, Anoushka Lucas (Jesus Christ Superstar), as The Musician and Juan-Leonardo Solari and Santiago Huertas Ruiz as The Boy.
In Mexico City, a mother begins writing her novel.
She is constantly interrupted.
In New York, a woman is haunted by the ghost of a Mexican poet.
She can’t keep out the past.
100 years earlier, a poet is troubled by visions of a woman on the subway.
She lives decades in the future.
As a mother tries to remember the faces from her past, the lines between her and them blur, time folds in on itself and ghosts appear everywhere.
Fiction and reality collide, as the past infiltrates the present in this time-bending, mesmerising new play. Based on the internationally-acclaimed and award-winning novel, Faces in the Crowd is an audaciously inventive study of obsession, identity, art and place where the line between storyteller and subject becomes increasingly blurred.
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. Her novels and essays have been translated into many languages and her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s. She is the author of the essay collection, Sidewalks, the novels Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and most recently Lost Children Archive. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and recently won the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the MacArthur ‘Genius’ award for exceptional “originality, insight and potential’.
Projects include: a ballet libretto for the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center in 2010; a pedestrian sound installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London; and a novella in instalments for workers in a juice factory in Mexico. She lives in New York City.
Ellen McDougall is Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre. Previous credits at the Gate include – Dear Elizabeth (2019), Effigies of Wickedness (2018), The Unknown Island (2017) and Idomeneus (2014). Other credits include Our Town (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Wolves (Stratford East); Othello (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe), the Lyric’s annual pantomime – Aladdin (2016) and Cinderella (2015), The Rolling Stone (Orange Tree Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange), The Remains of Maisie Duggan (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), The Glass Menagerie (Headlong), Anna Karenina (Manchester Royal Exchange), Henry the Fifth (Unicorn Theatre), Glitterland (Secret Theatre/Lyric Hammersmith) and Ivan and the Dogs (Actors Touring Company/Soho Theatre) – nominated for an Olivier Award.
Ellen was formerly part of the Secret Theatre Company at the Lyric Hammersmith. She trained as an assistant to Katie Mitchell and Marianne Elliott. She was awarded an International Artists’ Development Award (ACE/British Council) in 2012.
Faces in the Crowd plays at The Gate Theatre from Thursday 16 January to Saturday 8 February 2020.