A Quick Chat With Ben Grant at La Mama

Ben Grant created and performs in The Shrink and Swell of Knots, which opens at La Mama on 8 August .

A man starts building his own coffin, but decides to turn it into a raft in a work described as “an energetic, challenging and optimistic show about struggle, filled with music and ideas, practical information and poetry, transformation and grunt”.

The Shrink and Swell of Knots
The Shrink and Swell of Knots

What three words best describe your show?
Original, masculine and surprising.

Do you remember the first show you saw at La Mama?
The Wood Box in 1989.

What is one of your favourite shows you’ve seen at La Mama?
Coranderrk: We Will Show The Country

I saw it a lot because I made the music.

What do you love about working at La Mama?
The people.

What do you love most about this show?
It’s mentally complex and physically simple.

Where is the best coffee in Carlton?
Tiamo 1.

Who would you love to see in your audience one night?
Mum and Dad, which is lucky as they’re coming.

What do you like to do after a performance?

What was your first time on a stage?
When I was four, I played a god. It’s all been downhill from there.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A physical and vocal warm up. 

What’s some great theatre advice you’ve used?
You don’t have to feel a damn thing.

What punishment do you think is fit for audience members who don’t turn their phones off during performances?
A bad credit rating.

What’s your favourite gelati flavour?

What role/character do you really want to play one day?
Pablo Picasso (stay tuned…)

Do you read reviews?
Sadly yes.

Do you know of any secret parking spots near the theatres (although it’s such a short walk from the Melbourne uni tram stop on Swanston Street, so driving isn’t necessary)?
Sadly no.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?
Theatre And The Body by Colette Conroy, A Scarecrow’s Bible by Martin Hyatt and A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
Why did you write The Shrink And Swell Of Knots?

How would you answer it?
To see if it was possible to give a young person good advice.

The Shrink and Swell of Knots
8–19 August

Topics Mentioned:

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists as a producer/manager/programmer at arts festivals all over Australia, but this left her with no time to go to the theatre; so, she became a freelance writer.

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  • MummaGeorge

    I would like to hear more about the motivation to write the play…intriguing. So Ben, do you think it is possible to give young’uns good advice that they actually take on board?

  • Theatre goer

    I enjoyed reading this Ben and hope to be there on Friday. Jo (friend of Joan’s)