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An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley at The Garrick Theatre

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'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestley at The Garrick Theatre 16.5.00 The set of this play is under a proscenium arch and as this is a Victorian theatre the curtains rise up instead of going to each side. Especially for this production there is an added bit of stage at the front with twisted, bent floorboards with a trap door in. The bent floorboards represent the damage from bombs as outside is set in the 1940s. At one end of the extra bit of stage there is a phone box, this is used for the characters to use instead of in the house. At the other end of the stage there is a world war two radio, the little boy uses this to change the mood of the music throughout the play. A cyclorama surrounds the back of the stage, it is a screen at the back which is in a semi-circle and on it clouds are painted, behind it there are lights which change the mood and time of day of the production, this is reflected by the mirrors either side of the cyclorama which add depth to the stage. The main piece of the stage is the house in which the Birlings live it seems to have risen out of the ground, but most of the action does not take place there but on the cobbled street below next to an old-fashioned lamppost. ...read more.


These characters appear throughout the play such as at the very beginning the little children are seen emerging from the trap door, and Edna the maid is on stage the whole time giving blankets and drinks to the Birlings. The director used these characters to symbolize others affected by the Birling family's actions towards Eva Smith who committed suicide. For example the little boy could represent the unborn child that died because of their actions and Edna could be Eva if she had lived to an old age. In the play Edna seems to be expecting inspector Goole because she has a drink ready for him when he arrives and takes his coat, she does not greet him in anyway and she doesn't seem surprised at all to see him, which gives the impression that Edna knew he was coming. Edna doesn't go into the house because one of the themes of this production is about social class and Edna being a lower class than the Birlings is not allowed into the house. This is an example of social responsibility and the one that Edna has towards her employers. As the inspector asks the Birlings questions Edna has no reactions towards what horrible things they have done and remains nonjudgmental about the Birlings and what they have done, she does her duties like giving them drinks and wrapping them in blankets when they are cold. ...read more.


This is one of the reasons and hints that you get throughout the play that he is not a normal police officer. Another thing is that the impression the audience gets of him is that he knows everything already but he gives the Birlings a chance to confess and accept that they were wrong this also is not the normal behavior of an inspector. The inspector is abrasive, rude and determined to show that they caused this woman, Eva Smith, to commit suicide, to all of them he is unemotional until the end were he shows his anger at there selfishness. It is thought that the inspector is based upon the authors, J.B Priestly, morals and social principles. This play has many hidden and obvious messages about morals, caste, and the problems in society its self. As I saw the play the message that got through to me most was, there can be dire consequences from causes that seem meaningless, this message still has relevance to today's society because people are still the same and we still do things before we think of the consequences and what affect they will have on other people. This message and more, such as social responsibility, still have relevance fifty years after Priestly wrote the play because they are about human nature and that hasn't changed and never will. ...read more.

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