By Anabel Marquez | Photos: Rachel Carrillo
Stepping up to the podium inside a small Silverlake theater, Lindsay Kavet asks the crowd if anyone has questions about the performances they just watched. By this time, the audience has cheered, cried, laughed and even gasped during the hour and half show. This is their chance to ask about a particular monologue.
The first question from the audience is directed at Kavet who has remained behind the scenes throughout the evening. They ask what motivated her to create Expressing Motherhood, a national play where people share real and personal stories about motherhood.
“It’s very cathartic and cheaper than therapy,” Kavet replies.
The crowd laughs.
Kavet thanks the audience for attending and takes a bow, along with 13 other women. Among them— an opera singer, a former sex addict, a physician and a widow — each with a gripping story about their motherhood experience, from memories of neglecting a newborn to deep-rooted experiences with rage.
In 2019, Expressing Motherhood will be showing monthly, beginning in January.
“It was my passion project,” says Kavet. “It started because I wanted to be creative again and I was craving community. It has created a really nice web of connections.”
Kavet co-founded Expressing Motherhood in 2008.
The show has been featured on National TV and has entertained crowds around the country, in cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Portland, to name a few. It has filled over 10,000 seats and featured nearly 300 performers.
Perhaps most significantly though is the experience audiences get— an unexpected opportunity to connect with and feel validated by, the many stories that derive from the experience of mother. It has also fashioned strong friendships and even business partnerships between performers who’ve bonded over rehearsals and backstage camaraderie.
“There’s so many funny behind-the-scenes stories. We’ve had (breast milk) pumping, (alcohol) drinking, friendships have been made back here, laughter, and just a lot of connection that happens here,” says Kavet, sitting backstage at Silverlake’s intimate Lyric Hyperion theater.
The ten-year anniversary of Expressing Motherhood comes at a time when women’s voices are being heard with a new kind of attentiveness. Knowing this, Kavet has made it a point to diversify the performer lineup as much as possible.
“Last summer I made it a goal to have more diversity and include millennials and it’s paid off,” she says.
Gone are the days when Kavet walked around her neighborhood asking people she bumped into— nannies, neighbors, business owners— whether they’d be willing to participate in a show she was producing with her friend, Jessica Cribbs. Their idea was to put on a variety show that mainly focused on stories about motherhood.
“Anyone that was a mom at that time, I reached out to!” Kavet remembers.
The very first Expressing Motherhood Show ended up featuring a cast of eight, including local influencer Rebecca Woolf who owns the blog, Girl’s Gone Child.
“I knew we were onto something,” Kavet remembers.
Ten months after the show’s debut, Kavet was headed to New York City to host a sold out performance, Off-Off Broadway. The Expressing Motherhood NYC cast included popular bloggers, Kristen Chase and Liz Gumbinner of Cool Mom Picks. They each had a good motherhood story to share and audiences loved seeing their favorite Big Apple influencers, in person.
In the middle of the success and with all the momentum Expressing Motherhood was gaining, Kavet had to slow down. She was six months pregnant with her second child.
“I could tell the show was snowballing,“ she recalls. “But I almost had to pull it back because I was having babies…Moms have so many ideas but I learned that, it doesn’t mean something is dead just ‘cause you put it on pause.”
An L.A. Girl with Director Dreams
Lindsay Kavet was born in the San Fernando Valley but her family moved around the country and she spent most of her earlier years in South Dakota and Iowa. After graduating from college, she moved back to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
She landed several commercial gigs and soon realized she was more comfortable behind the camera.
“I stopped acting at 25,” she says. “I wasn’t getting great auditions and I went full behind-the-scenes working at a post-production house.”
Eventually, Kavet landed a production job at Playboy.
“I remember I called my mom cry-laughing,” Kavet says. “But I actually found it sort of liberating.”
After that, Kavet got married. She wrote, produced and directed a short film, Meg, then got involved with one of her husband’s films shooting behind the scenes footage. In 2006, she got pregnant with her first child and decided she’d be a stay-at-home mom.
“It was so different 12 years ago,” she recalls. “I didn’t know any moms. I was 29 and my contemporaries were definitely not married or having kids. I was really isolated.”
Further, Kavet says she was beginning to feel really bad about herself creatively. She remembers telling herself: “You have to do something!”
“I wanted to write a play. I thought about the collaboration of people writing and me curating their pieces for the stage. I’ve always had a strong desire to be creative, a strong urge to express myself. That really worked with my life,” says Kavet.
She produced and curated the show from home, mainly while her baby napped. She would communicate with cast members and work the details of the next production by e-mail. Then she’d meet with the cast for a single rehearsal before show time.
Throughout the years, Kavet, who now has three children ages twelve, eight and seven, has entertained the idea of franchising the show. But each time, she realizes the show’s success stems from a simple formula that audiences really appreciate.
“I thought about franchising it but I didn’t want to do that to make sure there weren’t too many variables,” she explains.
Once the crowd stops cheering inside the Lyric Hyperion Theater, the performers pose for a few pictures. Some go backstage to gather their belongings and head home. Others stay and mingle with friends and relatives in the audience.
Kavet heads to the theater entrance to check on her husband. He’s been assisting with distributing show programs and selling Expressing Motherhood sweatshirts. Several people stop Kavet while she’s there. Some hug her. Others congratulate her on yet another moving and inspiring production full of powerful voices.
“I never felt like I couldn’t be creative, Kavet says. “It was not necessarily about available tools, it’s more of just ‘making it happen.’”
Expressing Motherhood’s January shows have recently been announced with an all-new Los Angeles Mom cast. Tickets will be available at: www.ExpressingMotherhood.com
Connect with Lindsay!
Mommy In Los Angeles® Magazine had the opportunity to spend time with Lindsay Kavet before an Expressing Motherhood Show in Los Angeles. We applaud her decade-long focus of giving moms a platform to share their stories. Through Lindsay’s own desire to direct, she has presented society with an opportunity to be exposed to the experiences women endure as mothers. Congratulations on ten years of #ExMoShow. Thank you, Lindsay!