Thank you for your letter concerning the direction of my play “An Inspector Calls”.
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To the Director, Thank you for your letter concerning the direction of my play "An Inspector Calls". Firstly, in order for you to fully understand the play and its workings, I must explain the moral, which I believe fits the play: what goes around comes around. In these times, the upper classes hold the greatest influence, although they have the least responsibility. This should not be the case, but when one is in this position it becomes easy to make huge differences to other peoples lives just by small, selfish actions. Such is the case with the Birling family and Eva Smith. Onto the Inspector and his possible portrayal, or non-portrayal. What I mean by this is that the Inspector need not be portrayed at all, as he is, in essence, an embodiment of the character's conscience and a conscience is something that cannot be escaped from. He could appear as the questions are being asked because the characters own consciences create the answers and his presence would only add slightly to the huge amount of tension and excitement created by the answers alone.
He then makes his way up a flight of steps, where he is greeted by Edna the maid, who takes his suitcase from him. Edna, being a working class person is, in effect inviting him to represent her class in the soon to be courtroom of the Birling house. As he reaches the house, it bursts open, giving an almost voyeuristic effect. Also it gives the effect that their privacy and innocence has been invaded and they are now as vulnerable as the lower classes out on the street. He then enters the house. Once inside the house the Inspector creates immediate shockwaves the moment he introduces himself. It seems as though the family have been anticipating his arrival, (which would make sense if he is to embody their consciences) and choose to dampen the effect by idly gossiping amongst themselves The directors use of lighting, I thought was very clever as it showed the great diversity between good and evil, rich and poor and upper and lower class.
Another dramatic way you may wish to stage the play would be to have the street outside a scene of gloom, possibly raining and with a few people huddled together under a lamppost or other object. This would show the collective spirit that the lower classes possessed. Then as the play ends and all the secrets have been told, the house could become derelict and torn apart, just as the Birlings lives now are. The street could then change to a happy place, with people talking and laughing and the Inspector leaving of the right of the stage smiling. The child with the orange could then be called by someone, possibly a parent and informed that his sister is coming around. Thoughts of Eva Smith will be flying around the audience as the curtains close. These are just a few of the ideas you could use but I will leave it to your own creativity. I hope my ideas have been of some inspiration and look forward to seeing your version! Yours Sincerely J.B Priestley
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