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J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls Essay

4606 words - 18 pages

J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls

I think that an "Inspector Calls" is about the discriminations between
different classes and sexes, it conveys a lot of messages about these
topics and uses An Inspector - a mysterious, curt individual who makes
an unexpected call on an upper middle class, very opinionated family
named the Birlings. The inspector seems to invade their own little
world - upsetting a celebration of theirs, forcing them to realise the
truth - they all contributed to the death of a young, working class
girl with what should have been years ahead of her, instead these were
snatched away by a greedy, insensitive and selfish chain of events,
all down to the Birlings. The girls name was Eva Smith.

It is set just before the First World War, a time which is linked to
one of the messages that the play delivers to the viewer in one of the
final, most powerful, statements and at a time when class was very
important, there was a clear divide between the working and upper
classes, the working class being inferior, almost uncivilised or
animals.

I would want a large, open well-furbished and elegant dining room with
a solid looking fairly ornate dining table in the centre of the stage.
Some exotic plants such as small palm in the corner giving an
individual air to a traditional setting. They might believe it sets
them apart from other higher and lower classed houses as the Birlings
have something special almost extraordinary for this country. This is
similar to the BBC's production as I thought that this production had
a set which captured the essence of the Birlings and how they viewed
themselves - to be almost almighty, superior to the working classes
and they wanted to exhibit this with their house and it's
furnishing's. It should be fairly smoky due to Mr. Birling's cigar -
another item which 'sets the Birlings apart' from the rest of the
'crowd', they are easily distinguished from the rest of the rabble.

I would also include some of the BBC productions other props and stage
design e.g. the hefty, English oak table drinks decanters and costly
cigar boxes placed on the table. When the Inspector calls the scene
should be one of surprise, a rude interruption when the Birlings are
in high spirits, congratulating each other on their 'successes'.

I would also use some of the National Theatre's stage design such as a
small portion of the exterior of house where a lot of the plot evolves
such as Gerald's disappearance and his and Eric's return. The outside
of the house, the surrounding street, should be a dinghy, dark and
damp affair with a single street lamp to create a sinister, dank
effect. So the set should be a mixture of revolutionary and
traditional as I believe they both have elements which help the play
to develop, along with its themes based around an upper middle...

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