The play takes place in two acts comprised of six scenes each. It concerns Liam, an Irish immigrant who arrives in New York to work. The play takes place in the the mid to late 90's and there was a wave of Irish immigration then. Liam quickly finds that his lone contact in America, the nephew of a family friend, Seamus, has left New York. He is given solace by a friendly Italian bartender, Mario, who introduces him to a group of other Irish immigrants who become his defacto family in New York. They are three men and three women, who live across the hall from each other but who visit each other regularly, kind of like the sit com Friends.
The Men are: Owen, hard-nosed practical, hard working, slightly suspicious and mildly racist; Desmond, Owen's cousin, intellectual, sensitive, lazy and depressed; and Paddy, friendly, funny and just plain lucky. The women are: Mary good looking, forward thinking, and ambitious: Breda; conservative, prudish, overly religious: Paula who is unseen.
The play is a series of vignettes, showing Liam's first year in America. There's no real over arching event except for the conflict between Owen and Desmond. Owen has been looking out for Desmond who is reluctant to take the usual grunt work offered to immigrants. Desmond is depressed because he cannot find a place to be in this strange new America. Mary is a bit promiscuous and is really enjoying her freedom. She does not want to go back to Ireland. Paddy gets a job working for a wealthy New York family and ends up engaged and married to their daughter.
Despite being given a sinister aura by Owen, Mario turns out to be a great guy. The plays end with the accidental death of Desmond and the dispersion of the friends. The final moment is a monologue by Liam. He is now working at Mario's bar and the monologue is delivered to an unseen patron. The last moment has a new immigrant from Ireland arriving and asking Liam, as he did at the beginning of the play, “I'm looking for Seamus.”
The play has an odd quality to it. Some scenes I think are meant to be comic as are several motifs, like Liam's constant purchases of likely stolen goods from a black guy named Tyrone, but there is a wistfulness and sense of loss that haunts all the characters, which gives the play some melancholy.
I liked the play over all but it seems too rushed in it's current form. I would like to see this as a mini series with many of the events that are described or alluded to, shown. There is no real “plot.” It more of a character study and as such, it needs more time to work itself out well. Or fewer characters. The large cast makes focussing on any one character's situation too slapdash.