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Location : The Kraine Theater, New York, NY
Presented by Lianna Walden Productions – Vancouver, BC
Written and Performed by Mark Bentley Cohen
Directed by Seàn Cummings
Marco's bisexuality starts a journey of sexual self-discovery as the couple opens their ailing monogamous marriage of 15 years with surprising results. Provocative, humorous, erotic story challenges beliefs about monogamy...
Mark Bentley Cohen – Writer / Performer
I'm thrilled to be performing BHF+M as part of this year's Frigid New York. When we premiered the piece at the 2012 Vancouver Fringe we had no idea what the reaction would be. Since then we've taken the show across the continent, and it's your response as an audience which keeps us going.
Lianna and I often do Q&As after the show, and the feedback we've received over the years has left us humbled, inspired, and motivated to continue on. People have stood up in front of an entire audience of strangers and shared intimate details of their sexuality, personal struggles, relationship experiences, and gratitude at finally being able to hear their own story being told in a way which leaves them feeling good about themselves.
The play is based upon my new book, "Confessions of a Bisexual Husband", which is in turn based upon our own life experience, and details the process we went through of ending our 15-year marriage to embark upon a new way of being together, one which fosters personal growth and fulfillment, mutual support, and sexual freedom.
We’ve both grown tremendously since opening our relationship in 2009 and experimenting with consensual non-monogamy. Our findings have been counter-intuitive and go against much of what our society preaches about marriage, intimacy, and what it means to unconditionally love someone—and oneself.
This type of relationship can be emotionally challenging, with huge highs and low lows, but there's nothing easy about living in a loveless, passionless marriage defined by a numbing emotional stagnation either.
There have been times when we’ve both been pushed to the edge by the other. But the payoff has been worth it. Today our relationship is stronger, more stable and loving than ever before. We now have a respect and appreciation for each other which we never thought possible—after over 20 years of marriage!
Bisexuality is a queer thing indeed, and after coming out to my wife and kids, I began working with my fellow bisexuals to help them through the difficulties I had experienced, offering them hope that they too can find a dance partner with whom they can be their authentic selves. I've been running a bi-monthly support group for the past five years, counsel bisexuals, maintain a popular blog on this and other subjects, and tour the show, which has inspired many so far, and with your help and support, will continue to do so well into the future.
The vast majority of married bisexuals—and especially male bisexuals—are deep in the closet. The feedback we receive is that this show, along with my book, has helped them – as well as people of every sexual orientation and relationship configuration – to take the first small steps toward accepting themselves as unique individuals, and to discover the joys of living an authentic, adventurous, non-conforming life.
I hope it does the same for you.
Mark is a published writer, counselor, workshop facilitator, public presenter, and outdoor enthusiast living in Vancouver, BC, along with his freemate Lianna Walden and their two teenaged progeny.
Lianna Walden – Producer
As an award winning film producer, I have been involved in film and television production for over 25 years. Stating my career working with producers from Japan, I have had the opportunity to work on numerous international and local projects as a Line-Producer, Production Manager and Location Manager. I managed some of the first HD programs in North America (Bob Dylan Celebration Concert at Madison Square Gardens) to coordinating multi-facetted productions (Canada The Fantastic Journey, NHK Japan) which included documentary, live broadcast, and crews from Canada/US and Japan. I worked with some of the largest commercial clients in Japan at that time managing commercial projects for Toyota, Nissan, Mild 7 and many others in locations around the world.
In 2008, as a Producer, I partnered with Director / Writer / Producer Roger Evan Larry and Executive Producer Earl Hang Tai, where we completed the successful documentary, Citizen Marc, about famed marijuana activist Marc Emery. It is now touring the theatres in Canada, is available on DVD and will soon be released internationally.
I also produced the feature documentary Silent Music, with Melissa A Gomez and Jay Prychidny, which won best documentary at the 2012 Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Toronto. Silent Music has been shown at festivals around the world.
My passions also extend to the world of theatre, where for two years, 2006-2008; I produced The Vancouver International Fringe Festival where I now serve on the Board of Directors. In the 2012 Vancouver International Fringe Festival, Mark Bentley Cohen and I launched a provocative, edgy, humorous play entitled “Bi, Hung, Fit...and Married”. I was terrified! The story talks about our sexual life and explorations which were up to this point not revealed publicly. I knew we had to tell the story. It was a story rarely heard; we wanted to know if others would connect to the experience.
I have been amazed by the reception for the piece. We have received comments and letters from people all over the world. The response has been overwhelming and this has driven us to continue to promote it for more to see and experience.
As an explorer I am always looking for new adventures, searching for ways to keep my relationship, personal and sexual self alive. It has been vital along the way for me to take risks, open up and most importantly live fearlessly.
I have travelled the world finding thrilling adventures from ashrams in India, remote jungle escapades in Borneo and retreats in Italian medieval villages. I have journeyed internally, finding places of deep love, personal awareness and orgasmic, blissful energy.
Mark Bentley Cohen is my freemate (a word I recently coined describing our relationship). His book "Confessions of a Bisexual Husband”, which details his coming out as bisexual and our transition to non-monogamy (www.markbentleycohen.com) is our story of transformation. The effects of our exploration have been so profound that we were compelled to tell our story to others. By allowing each other to grow sexually, all areas of our lives have blossomed. Our on-going experiments in love, intimacy, consciousness and sex have strengthened us as individuals and as a couple. We are happier and more in love than we have ever been, after twenty years of marriage.
I have become passionate about working as a Sex and Relationship Coach, helping others to discover a place in their intimate life where they can be authentic and happy. My blog is very active and visited by people internationally.
Together and separately Mark and I give workshops and seminars about alternatives to ones relationship, intimacy, non-monogamy and sexual role play. All of the topics focus on exciting, stimulating and sexy ways of seeing and building a more powerful and soulful partnership.
Together we also present workshops on the “Law of Attraction” and “Create Your Own Reality”. Focusing on different components of life, we work with people to see their life as the ultimate power of the universe. Presently we hold meet-ups every few weeks.
Recently we started a non-profit organization called “The Centre for Sex and Sexuality”. The Centre will be launching in Spring 2015.
Being alive is about taking risks, making shifts and living consciously.
Seán Cummings - Director
Seán Cummings is a sixteen-year veteran of professional theatre and film production. He is the Artistic Producer and co-founder of Meta.for Theatre Company (Vancouver), the former Artistic Director of Frank Theatre (Vancouver) a member of Canadian Actors Equity Association, and an active member of the Director’s Guild of Canada with production credits on various TV series and films. His stage credits include Bent (Max) and Poor Superman (David), as well as directing three world premieres by LAMDA nominee C.E. Gatchalian – Crossing, Broken, and Falling In Time. Seán is pleased to be part of BFHM’s team and is ecstatic Marco’s story has made it to New York.
Ross Bartleman – Initial Directing and Blocking
As a solo performer, Ross has played a gay adoptive father in Michael Kearns' "Attachments", donned a peach bridesmaid's dress for "Trauma Central: Deconstruction of a Princess" and mounted an early version of his own "10 Lost Years: Requiem for a Mother and Son". He has worked as a choral singer, choreographer, writer, director, producer/presenter, graphic designer and arts administrator.
He has also been a book entitled "Recovering Hoarder" for the Human Library Project as part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. He is currently working on an autobiographical documentary project and companion theatre piece on the connections between unresolved loss and compulsive hoarding.