Directing An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley
In the following essay, I intend to describe the different ways in
which I would portray the different mannerisms and characteristics of
the inspector from a director's point of view throughout different
parts in the play. I will look at his effect and how he is affected in
different scenarios - such as the contrast between the interrogations
of different characters. I will concentrate on how I would portray his
character, his mannerisms, speech, posture, facial and body
expression, his attire and how he interacts with the other characters.
The stage directions would give me as the director a clear idea as to
how I should portray the inspector. As well as continual directions in
different situations throughout the play, the most important
directions concerning the inspectors general character are given at
the point in the play at which he enters the Birlings home.
For example, the directions explain how 'he need not be a big man but
he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and
purposefulness'. Basically, his physical size does not matter so much
as long as the character is portrayed as a powerful, solid, confident,
purposeful person who has a large effect on the audience and the
family. 'He is a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit
of the period.' His age is stated, and his attire is also described -
this gives me an impression as to how I would dress the character.
Plain and dark clothing represents impersonality, he reveals very
little emotion or information about himself.
His speech is careful and weighty. He has a 'disconcerting habit of
looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking.' He
does not speak very quickly, he doesn't make mistakes while speaking,
he is a confident talker. When looking hard at people before talking,
this makes them feel like he is scanning them, his mind is constantly
working, as if he can see through their lies. This also makes the
person he is addressing feel uncomfortable, they feel like he can read
their thoughts. I would make sure the actor didn't do this all the
time as it would become tedious, annoying and loose it's effect.
I would tell the actor to have stern facial expression, yet quite
plain and emotionless at the same time. This way people find it hard
to tell what he is thinking. He would walk with confidence, power and
his stance would be broad, upright and large with good posture to help
give the impression of power and purposefulness. I would position the
actor in the center of the stage, being the center of attention and
when he originally enters the room, I would have the lighting change
to a more sharp, sinister shade to give him an immediate impression.
The stage directions help thoroughly as to how I would have the actor