The immigrant experience in the United States is as varied as each individual who leaves family, friends and a familiar culture to forge a new life in a strange land. Yet not everything is left behind.
In the West Coast premiere of "Brendan," a potentially effective but problematic production at Theatre Banshee in Burbank, one young contemporary Irish immigrant in New York still carries baggage containing grief, guilt, isolation — and a recent addition: the ghost of his dead mother.
On the black box Banshee stage, courtesy of set designer Arthur MacBride, shelves stacked with boxes, presumably filled with immigrant case files, are flanked on either side by low-slung lamps and folding chairs where cast members sit when not appearing in the play's nearly three dozen short scenes. Costume designer Michéle Young's character-identifying wardrobe pieces — jackets, shirts, coats, shawls — hang on hooks. Shoes and props lie under chairs and on stacks of boxes.