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Imagine you are directing a production of an Inspector calls. Explain how you would direct it to bring out the themes and issues that priestly explores.

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An Inspector Calls Essay-GCSE English Coursework Imagine you are directing a production of an Inspector calls. Explain how you would direct it to bring out the themes and issues that priestly explores. An Inspector Calls is a story tightly structured around three acts and with no change of scene. It is based around the Birlings, an upper class, British family. Set in 1912, although the story was written in 1945, under the interrogation of a familiar inspector, each member of the family admits their shameful secrets. The story has been set in 1912 before major events have occurred. This may have been done to help bring in dramatic irony especially in Mr Birlings opening speech. At first glance this play seems to be a straight forward detective thriller, but as it progresses it becomes a morality play which is used to put across J.B Priestleys ideas and allow the audience to question their own morals. To begin the first Act, I would seat the Birling family around a long, mahogany dinner table. A large, glass chandelier would paint the room in a dim yellow glow. Mr Birling would head the table to show he is the head of the house. Using chandeliers, the best china and the characters dressed in their finest attire would help to display the Birlings wealth and upper class status. As Edna provides the port she would place it in front of Mr Birling and remain silent. This would support the fact the Birling was head of the household and also portray Edna as unequal to the Birling family. ...read more.


This he states is due to the fact "that I haven't much time". While the Inspector is questioning the family some of his points could also be said to the audience, so as to seem as if he is questioning the audience too. Facing the audience when he asks the question "why?" can cause the audience to question themselves. This links with Priestley's central purpose, as he wants the audiences to question themselves, and to put themselves in the same situation, therefore making them more aware of their place in the world and the community. The second member of the family that is questioned by the Inspector is Sheila. At the beginning of Sheila's monologue she does not seem to be resentful for her input in Eva/Daisy's death. Sheila's monologue should be spoken at quite a fast speed and in a very confident voice so as to show her inconsiderate attitude. As she recalls the event in the lines "well this girl...and it just suited her" Sheila should fix her gaze over the audiences heads to portray the feeling that she is remembering the incident. In contrast when Sheila says, "just as I was the wrong type" she should look directly at Gerald, as if to imply she is the wrong type for him also. This helps to build up extra tension in the scene and shows further insight into the emotions Sheila is feeling. Sheila could start pacing as she says "I was rude to both...had been very impertinent" to show she is beginning to get tense and then once again to keep interest she could perform a contrasting movement like a spin toward the audience on the line "how could I know what would have happened afterwards". ...read more.


Priestly may have decided to end the play in a questioning way as it helps the audience to question themselves about their own morales. Ending the play in this way brings the story into a complete circle. As only Eric and Sheila seem to have learnt a lesson from the nights interrogation and the rest of the family return to their normal lifestyles, believing nothing has happened or changed, ending in this way also allows the audience to leave the theatre wondering how each character will react to the second Inspectors presence. Display Inspector Goole as a fake helps us to understand that he was a device to get us to all examine our consciences and to convey Priestleys beliefs of unity portrayed in the Inspectors last speech. These beliefs include that everyone's lives are entwined and that "we don't live alone, we are members of one body". Inspector Goole could also be seen as an angel, as the voice of consciences and even as the soul of the unborn baby Eva was carrying, as these would all have a reason for knowing the story of Eva Smiths death and also for wanting the Birling family to change. Personally, I felt An Inspector Calls was quite simple to direct as it was obvious which parts of the play would need to be emphasised because of their importance. Using lighting and projections adds further dramatic enjoyment and helps to highlight the main sections of the play, which convey Priestley's ideas, beliefs, or experiences of the war. I believe this play is still enjoyable for modern audiences as it much a play about ourselves, in that the questioning directed at the Birlings could also be directed at the audience, and therefore keeps them involved throughout the performance. Natalie Clarke ...read more.

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