Three years after her Fringe debut Pendulum attracted positive reviews, Anita Gallo is staging a new double bill of work at The GRV. Self Help and Respect – directed by Pendulum actor Andy Corelli – were initially written to be performed as separate pieces but, according to the Edinburgh writer, ideally complement each other.
In Self Help, Victoria turns to a self improvement book to find herself a boyfriend – a situation with which Gallo feels most women will relate. ‘I’ve had bad dates,’ she says. ‘All my girlfriends have had bad dates. Most people have actually been in a dating agency but they’d never admit it and virtually all of us buy self help books but we don’t like to confess to it. I wanted to look at these issues in a light-hearted way.’
Conversely, Respect is a thriller in which Stella has a one night stand but the man refuses to leave her flat in the morning. It was inspired by an event experienced by Gallo when she lived in London, when a woman in the neighbouring tower block was found dead after taking a man from her local pub home – an event she describes as ‘not that uncommon’.
While both plays may vary sharply in tone, they send out the same message. ‘I really want people to enjoy Self Help,’ she says, ‘and I’d like Respect to make them feel frightened. But there is an underlying message in both that, ultimately, you are responsible for your own life.’
The GRV, Edinburgh, until Sun 28 June