Two years ago, S. Asher Gelman made a splash with his first play, Afterglow, which examined a threesome of gay men. Scheduled to take advantage of Gay Pride month, it ran well over a year. Gelman’s second play, Safeword, has more challenging subject matter. The title comes from BDSM, which is, for those who haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, bondage and discipline (BD) and sadomasochism (SM). This time, however, Gelman’s plot feels more contrived, and its effect isn’t as strong.
June is typically the month for many gay-themed plays to open, taking advantage of the influx of tourists for the annual Gay Pride Parade. Such works almost invariably feature gratuitous male nudity and forgettable plots, but S. Asher Gelman has set the bar far higher with his first play, Afterglow.