When the house explodes it is at the emotional peak in the play and everything Mr Birling has built up over his life collapses: this is a very cathartic moment during the play. The house exploding is supposed to teach the Birlings a lesson and make them think about each of their actions towards this girl. However at the very end when they discover that the Inspector is false and that no one has died Mr Birling, Mrs Birling and Gerald all rejoice “By Jingo! A fake! ” All the characters except Sheila and Eric are very excited and the language Priestley has used portrays this.
The house then remakes itself and they all get back into the house other than Eric and Sheila who stay outside with Edna. The Inspector in Priestley’s script is described as creating an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness’. In the script he enters the Birlings’ house and is reasonably polite to the family. Priestley never quite explains the character of the inspector: ‘is he a realistic straightforward police inspector, a hoaxer, or in his omniscience, something more’. The Inspector’s name reveals Priestley’s intentions for this character a great deal.
Inspector Goole gives an impression of something ghost or ‘ghoul’ like to give an aura of mystery and at the end of the play to leave the audience to make up their own mind as to whether he was a ghoul, time traveller or a hoaxer. Also the inspector acts as a teacher to both the characters and to the audience as in his speeches contain morals for the characters to learn from and the reader or audience to take home with them. Near the end of the play he makes a speech about society which is still relevant today: ” We are members of one body.
We are responsible for each other” The language used ‘we’ involves the audience and makes them reflect on the message in Priestley’s script. Daldry’s Inspector Goole was far more intimidating and very sinister looking. He stays outside the house and manages to verbally pull the Birling family out of their secure, safe world in their house. In Daldry’s production he gives the idea that the Inspector is in some way a time traveller. The inspector’s costume was not particularly dated so could easily have been from the 1940s or the year 2000.
In his entrance he is seen giving an orange to a boy who is dressed in war- time clothing this is a symbol of the war as oranges were very rare during World War II. He is also seen talking secretly to Edna, which suggests that there is a connection between them, which is never revealed to leave the audience wondering and using their imaginations. Before he talks to the Birlings he looks at his watch a great deal which indicates that he is waiting for something or knows that an event is going to happen he also talks a lot about there not being much time.
In the introductory stage directions Edna is briefly mentioned as the parlour maid and has very little significant involvement in the play. Throughout the script Edna takes glasses, cleans the table and notifies the Birlings that the phone is ringing or that someone is at the door. She is a very irrelevant part in the script and only really signifies that the Birling family is rich enough to have a maid. In Daldry’s production although Edna still has very little to say and is not involved in the script’ it is clear that she knows something more.
Edna stays outside the house throughout the production and shouts up to the Birling family from outside. Daldry has done this to emphasise the class distinction. She meets the inspector and rushes off which suggests that she is more involved and perhaps knows that the inspector is coming. Another possibility is that Inspector Goole has not only come to help the Eva Smiths of the world but the Edna as well. At the end when Sheila and Eric stay outside in the rain while the rest of their family go back to the house having ignored everything that had just happened Edna comforts and sits with them.
Edna is very much separate from the Birlings’ and this is very obvious from her appearance and manner. In Priestley’s script Sheila is described in the introductory paragraph as ‘a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited. ‘ In the script she comes across as fairly quiet and reserved during the beginning of the play and gradually she becomes more and more self-indignant, selfish and a jealous, envious person during her confession: “Because I was in a furious temper” The way Sheila says this is as if it was a perfectly good explanation for what she had done, portraying her as quite a spoilt child.
Her part to play in Eva Smith’s death leaves the reader thinking whether people can really be that shallow and makes Sheila seem worse and a horrible character. Although at the end she does redeem herself she still did behave in a childish and selfish way. Later in the script Priestly makes the reader sympathise with Sheila and displays quite clearly that Sheila has understood his message perhaps using her as a role model to encourage people to change and redeem themselves of sins they have committed. Daldry makes Sheila appear very innocent in a white dress in later stages particularly, which symbolises youth and wealth.
Sheila is the first to move down from the house and talk to the inspector and the first to admit to her involvement. When Sheila makes her confession she talks to the audience trying to get them to understand and sympathise with her. The speech is very well done and makes the audience think about what they would do in that situation and perhaps sympathise with her. Towards the end Sheila removes her dress and pearls this symbolises her cleansing and taking off her riches, to not be a part of the Birlings anymore.
She then stands in the rain and gives the impression of her washing away her sins to show that she is truly sorry in this she appears innocent and pure. At the end her and Her brother Eric are left with Edna looking up to the rest of their family no longer wanting to be a part of them. This also makes them physically and symbolically separate from the rest of their family. In Priestley’s script Mrs Birling is portrayed as a very cold and opinionated woman. She is definitely of a higher class than her husband and has a great deal of control over him.
In the script she is rather ignorant and oblivious to what is going on outside her world and makes a lot of assumptions about “people of that class. ” The language used and the way it is used is very pretentious and the emphasis on the word ‘ that’ aids to the nature of the conversation. When she does discover out that Eric played a big part is the death of Eva Smith she is shocked after having just said what should be done with whoever is responsible for her pregnancy. In Daldry’s production he has taken the character of Mrs Birling and enlarged her enormously in character.
She is very exaggerated and operatic. She is very mean and quite spiteful in his production. Her costume adds a lot to her character, a dramatic red gown draped in gold and jewellery, red giving the impression of anger. The way she moves is very melodramatic; all her moves and arm gestures are exaggerated as she moves across the stage sweeping her gown and tossing her head. In Daldry’s production Mrs Birling is very melodramatic and is almost the pantomime villain that the audience loves to hate.
In Priestley’s script there are very brief suggestion about lighting in the introductory paragraph: ‘the lighting should be pink and intimate until the inspector arrives and then it should be brighter and harder’. This is very simple and realistic to fit in with the rest of the setting and style of acting. In Daldry’s production the lighting was very operatic and dramatic. The lighting used was sinister and dark this gave an intense and scary atmosphere. The lighting rose to represent emotional peaks in the play.
The sound was very similar to the lighting in that it was very dramatic and operatic. The music was very loud and related to the intensity of the play at times’ it was quite ghostly and spine chilling. The sound and lighting together helped create a good, extreme atmosphere to keep the audience on their seats. Daldry had to keep the audience’s complete attention throughout the whole of the production which could have proved difficult as when Priestley wrote “An Inspector calls” he intended it to be in three acts and Daldry produced it in one act with no interval.
In conclusion having not seen the whole of Stephen Daldry’s production of “An Inspector calls” I think that from the video and analysis of his production Daldry’s production has enhanced my reading of “An Inspector calls”. He has made the story a lot more interesting and easier to visualise and get a hold of the plot then reading the script where no real atmosphere is created other than in the reader’s imagination. To have it acted and set out helps a great deal to see the moral social issues that Priestley intended us the audience to see.
From seeing parts of Daldry’s production it has not changed my mind as to who was most responsible for Eva Smith’s death as I still think that Eric played the worst part in her suicide. It has definitely changed my mind as to who is the worst character as I now see Mrs Birling as a mean, self righteous woman as before I thought that Eric was also the worst character as well being responsible for Eva’s death. This is because Daldry’s very unsympathetic portrayal of Mrs Birling actually leaves the audience feeling that she is most responsible, as she does not learn from Priestley’s message. The play “An Inspector Calls.
” and its message is still enormously relevant today as although society advances and changes, government issues and opinions on them are still down to the individual. Unfortunately there are still people like Mr and Mrs Birling in society and I feel that audiences watching “An Inspector Calls” will all have someone perhaps themselves that they can relate to when identifying with these characters. Charlotte Field 10P Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J. B. Priestley section.