Mothers express themselves

Women from around the country are sharing their trials, tribulations and joy in a production titled “Expressing Motherhood.”

The show is celebrating its fifth year having sold out previously in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. The idea for the show was conceived by Lindsay Kavet, of Los Angeles, director and producer, and Jessica Cribbs, of Burbank, who is the producer.

Mothers have submitted essays or poems, and if selected they perform them for an audience. The shows are being presented over two weekends at the Lillian Theater in Hollywood.

To build a cast for the first show in 2008, the duo sought mothers by posting a listing on the website nowcasting.com that actors use when looking for work, said Cribbs, a stay-at-home mom who has three children, ages 5 years, 3 years and 8 months.

But producers haven’t needed to do that for subsequent years, she added, because the show has generated interest just through word of mouth.

“It caught fire, after the first show in Los Angeles,” Cribbs said.

The first cast was great, but they pulled only a small audience because nobody knew about it, she said.

“It was sucessful because by the time the next show came around, we had more submissions than we could handle,” she said. “It was just word of mouth, and a huge help for us is the mommy blogging world. The moms connect in a unique way. The subsequent three shows sold out in Los Angeles and New York and Boston.”

They take submissions from moms all over the country with the understanding that they will come to the show wherever it is, Cribbs said.

“We are trying to represent motherhood in every way shape or form, so we get submissions for stories about adoption, loss of children, marital relations after having children, postpartum depression, babies suffering from colic — in essence we want to cover every happy, sad or traumatic event, everything that motherhood is,” she said.

Some mothers have written songs, and one woman is rapping a comical song, but the presentations are mostly essays eight to 10 minutes long.

Holly Hughes created an essay on why she left Los Angeles to raise her 2-year-old daughter in Charlotte, N.C.

“I didn’t know how to protect her from the pervasive mindset that there is always something better, skinnier or prettier in Los Angeles,” Hughes said. “I wanted her to be a kid for as long as she could.”

Hughes is looking forward to the experience of performing her work and building relationships with fellow mothers, she said.

“I think it’s a cool thing,” she said. “I love when women come together and support each other. I think it will be fun.”

A group of employees from Bellies, Babies & Bosoms in Montrose is attending the show, said owner Laura Agakanian.

Megan Morris, one of her employees, is pregnant with her first child, and Agakanian is bringing the group to the show as a baby shower for the mom-to-be, Agakanian said.

This is the first time Agakanian will attend the show.

“I can’t wait to see the show and relate to the experiences of the mothers who are expressing themselves onstage, she said. “I think it will make us laugh, cry and giggle and be a great experience.”

She met Cribbs at a recent Help a Mother Out diaper drive organized through Path Achieve Glendale, an organization that helps the homeless, and Cribbs told her about the show.

Show producers will be collecting diapers and baby wipes for Help a Mother Out, which provides the donations to women’s shelters.

Infobox

What: “Expressing Motherhood”

When: 8 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Jan. 28 and 29 and 7 p.m. Jan. 30

Where: Lillian Theater, 1076 N. Lillian Way, Hollywood

Cost: $25

Contact: www.expressingmotherhood.com

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