"Expressing Motherhood," the live stage show featuring entertaining stories from real moms, is back in Los Angeles for Mother's Day, ready to reveal (almost) everything about the ups and downs of one of the noblest professions -- yes, motherhood.
Created by moms Lindsay Kavet, who serves as director/producer, and Jessica Cribbs, who is also a producer, "Expressing Motherhood" was a project born out of creativity, feelings of isolation, and community in early 2008. It has since traveled to New York and Boston in addition to L.A. and is looking at Chicago as a possible next stop.
I had the chance to talk to Kavet about the show's beginnings as well as what's in store for the upcoming run, April 27-May 7. I'm also giving away 2 tickets to one of the performances, so be sure to check out the info below.
L.A. Story: How did you come up with the idea for "Expressing Motherhood"?
Lindsay Kavet: I was a stay-at-home mom -- I still am -- but I was just done breastfeeding, my son was about a year and a half, and I just felt so isolated. I had come to L.A. for my passion, which is film and the arts, and Jessica was my fellow stay-at-home friend mom, and I called her up and I just said, "What if we do something where moms just share their stories?" And she helped me figure it out, like, "Let's just do it." We had never produced for theater before. We basically just started working on it when our children were napping.
L.A. Story: How many kids do you have?
Lindsay Kavet: I have a 4 1/2 year old, a 1 year old -- both boys -- and I'm pregnant with my last, a girl, due in August.
I've directed three-quarters of these shows pregnant, maybe even more. I definitely feel like being pregnant and being a mom has brought me a lot of creative juice.
L.A. Story: The mothers in the show write their own material. How did you come up with that format?
Lindsay Kavet: Well, I thought two things. I've always wanted to cater this toward still being a stay-at-home mom, so if moms can write their own material, that not only gives them a chance to be really creative but we can also cater toward writers, not just actors. Or moms who just want to write. And secondly, I don't know that I was capable of writing a full script, a whole production. It was a lot of work. So this way, it was a shared responsibility. It was like, women who would come to me had to have some kind of self-drive, so it just kind of worked out. And they could showcase their own work, which is always nice.
L.A. Story: Are they professionals, or is it a mix?
Lindsay Kavet: It’s a total mix. We’ve had women who’ve never even performed, ever in their lives. And it’s so funny because they’re really favored because they’re so genuine, because they’re just so happy to be up there for the right reasons – they have this burning desire to express themselves. But we’ve also had actresses, which is wonderful because they have experience in theater. And then we have mommy bloggers, who are really great at writing, and we’ve had moms who’ve written books, so we run the whole gamut.
L.A. Story: What's the audition process like?
Lindsay Kavet: Our audition process is really not normal. I basically hold submissions a couple of months prior to our show, and I have everything set, so the moms know what dates they have to be there for. And I read their pieces -- that’s it. I never meet these women until the two rehearsals we hold the week of the show. It’s very unusual.
L.A. Story: Have you performed in the shows?
Lindsay Kavet: I have. I’ve performed in about half of the shows. When we took the show to New York, I didn’t because I was like, one less thing to think about. So I haven’t performed the last few shows, but I have performed in over half of them.
L.A. Story: What stories have stuck out for you?
Lindsay Kavet: It's hard. It's almost like talking about your kids.
L.A. Story: What are some of the qualities you look for in submissions?
Lindsay Kavet: I like people to show us versus tell me. I want them to show me what they went through because then the audience will know what they were feeling.
And I like shorter pieces. When I first started out, the pieces were like 15 minutes long, and now they’re down to six minutes.
And I like pieces that are specific, not really like, “Oh motherhood is hard.” One piece we had was about how you can’t stop arguing in front of your kids even though you know you should. You know it’s not healthy, but your ego gets in the way.
Of course, we’ve had really dramatic, moving pieces. We had a woman (who lost) her baby at 8 months, and then we also have more lighthearted, humorous pieces, so we run the gamut. What everybody says when they leave the theater is, "Oh my God, you took me on a roller-coaster ride."
It’s not traditional in the sense that it’s all comedic or dramatic. It’s kind of up and down, all over the place. But I feel like that’s how real life is.
*** GIVEAWAY ***
I'm giving away 2 tickets to see "Expressing Motherhood" at Elephant Space. The show runs April 27 (opening night) through April 30 and May 4-7.
To enter, leave a comment below telling me why you would like to see this show.
For more chances to win, follow me on Twitter. I'm at @la_story. Or you can "Like" the L.A. Story Facebook page.
Just be sure to leave extra comments telling me you did so.
Good luck, and I'll announce the winner on this post (not a separate one) Monday, April 18!
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Tickets: $20 at www.brownpapertickets.com