O TIME is a work of creative nonfiction, in which the narrator David goes to Brazil to reckon with the passing of the producer of his musical Yank!, a 28-year old man named George. The piece starts with the final conversation between David and George on the night the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro burns down in 2018. A few weeks later, when George passes away from what is announced as a “bacterial infection,” David feels “the rumble of an old fear” and goes from New York to Brazil to join with the company of Yank!in mourning George—and also to engage in a quest to better understand his friend’s life and death. Deciding that he will write something to memorialize him, David interviews members of the team of Yank!…and then continues further into George’s personal life, meeting with his best friend from college, his two girlfriends (who challenge David’s assumptions about George’s sexuality), and finally George’s father. Throughout this journey, David’s friend Hugo, the openly gay telenovela star who played the lead in Yank!, questions David’s motives and forces him to wrestle with the source of his curiosity and the ethics of his inquiries.
Thrown into a whirlwind of emotions by the revelation of the truth behind George’s death, David must face his own privilege as well as his own trauma, confronting the psychological scars created by the AIDS crisis and the lingering shame of the closet. But he also comes to understand how musicals might connect queer people from different cultures—and what they meant to a 28-year-old producer in Rio.
Structured as an investigation, the play lives in the space between countries and cultures, language and translation, past and present. O TIME (Portuguese: “The Team”) is the story of the group of people who came together to produce a musical and their effort to preserve the memory of the team member who left them.