Written and Performed by Mark Bentley Cohen; Directed by Seàn Cummings
Part of the 2015 Frigid New York Festival
Off Off Broadway, New Solo Show
Runs through 3.7.15
The Kraine Theater, 84 East 4th Street
by Alaina Feehan on 2.25.15
Mark Bentley Cohen
BOTTOM LINE: This autobiographical show is a riveting yet one-dimensional look at a married man discovering and exploring his bisexuality and creating a non-monogamous partnership with his wife.
Bi, Hung, Fit…and Married, starring Mark Bentley Cohen as Marco is a one-man show based on Cohen’s book, Confessions of a Bisexual Husband. Marco discovers he’s bisexual and although he’s married with children, he’s compelled to explore his sexual desire to be with men. Marco has a few homosexual trysts and then concedes to come clean to his wife. Marco’s wife takes this news in stride and decides to experiment with Marco by indulging in a ménage à trois with her husband and another bisexual man -- and this is the spark that ignites the couples’ sexual renaissance. Marco and his wife’s sex life goes from zero to Nero (well, not as depraved as that, but it does get pretty hot).
Hearing a stranger wax poetic about his sex life in a no-holds-barred and extremely self-aware way is fascinating. That being said, I wished the show were a play with multiple characters. It's a bit too meta as it is. It’s Marco’s story from his point of view alone and we do not get to see how his wife and children process and resolve the changes that Marco’s choices initiate. Marco comes off selfish as it is (less so after he finally confesses his affairs to his wife) and realizing that he’s (predominately) speaking of and for himself for most of the show just compounds his un-likability factor.
Downtown NYC theatre audiences are hip to non-conventional relationships and sexuality, and I was eager for Bi, Hung, Fit…and Married to reveal any insights about an open relationship that one wouldn’t already know or be able to guess at, but it didn't. This show may be more useful touring marriage counseling retreats (if such places exist beyond reality television), or any other places where a more old-fashioned audience may feel trapped by traditional monogamous relationships and need to be told it’s OK to explore other options.
(Bi, Hung, Fit... and Married plays at the Kraine Theater, 84 East 4th Street, through March 7, 2015. Remaining performances are Sunday 3/1 at 5:20PM; Monday 3/2 at 8:50PM; Thursday 3/5 at 7:10PM; and Saturday 3/7 at 3:20PM. Tickets are $16 and are available at horsetrade.info.)