This leaves the room in shock since Mrs Birling a few minutes ago had denied any knowledge of ever meeting this girl. Whilst the inspector gives his speech, Mrs Birling should start to leave the room, but stop when she gets to the door. She should stop at the moment when the inspector says that Mrs Birling saw Eva Smith 2 weeks before. Then she should reluctantly turn around and say “yes, quite true” in reply to Sheila, and sit back down. Even though the inspector is asking Mrs Birling questions, to which he already knows the answers, but he just wants to encourage the tension between the family members to rise.
I think the spot lights should only be on Mrs B and the inspector, and the rest of the room should be relatively dark. This would bring out the main characters and show who is weak and who has power. Mrs B should start to get nervous and fiddle with her hair while the inspector confronts her. She should have a very shaky voice unlike the inspector who should have a very bold clear voice for contrast. When she answers her questions she should start to act as if she didn’t do anything wrong and it was all Eva Smith fault; she is now however willing to accept the inspector’s accusations without accepting the blame. This tones the moment down slightly as a change to the high tension until the next key moment.
Mrs Birling becomes quite hysterical when she says: “Go look for the father of the child. It’s his responsibility.” This is a very ironic comment as by now most people should suspect that the father of the child is her son, but she’s the only person in the room who doesn’t yet realise this. When she says this, she should stand up and start to act in a bluff manner and start to act intimidating. It is a very harsh comment but when the inspector replies it has a double meaning:
“That doesn’t make it any the less yours” This is true because it’s not only her responsibility with her job in this charity but also as a grandmother, which she doesn’t know yet. The inspector should start to act harshly when he answers back and he shows Mrs B for the heartless person she is. At this point she should pause to reflect the awkward situation in which she find herself. He is turning everyone against each other and Sheila should reacts as if she is quite horrified and upset. I think Sheila should stand up and look at her mother, ashamed of her, while Mrs B still remains composed with an agitated expression on her face. Even Mr Birling is starting to say that what she did might sound wrong to the press and this should be the point where she really starts to break down and feel isolated from the feelings of those around her.
She should stand up to say, “oh, stop it, both of you…” and raise the tone in her voice increasingly. There should be a spotlight on her but the whole room should be lit up quite brightly with blue lights. Sheila and Mr B should act very nervous and worried and both start fidgeting, maybe Sheila should go turn away from her mother and pour herself a drink which will make a change especially since you wouldn’t expect her to be the drinking type. When Mrs B turns to the inspector she should start to act a bit calmer but make it obvious that she is starting to realise some of the horrid truths and yet deny them to herself. Her voice should trails off quietly and she should go sit back down and act again as if she is innocent of anything. The spotlight should go just leaving a normal lighting in the room again.
Now every one realises Eric is the father of the child except Mrs Birling. When she finally understands she is very shocked: “But surely…I mean…its ridiculous…” The realisation of this even has her stunned. To show this she could gasp and have her hand go to her open mouth in horror. Its not just her but its also Mr Birling who is in shock and even terrified that his son could have made Eva smith pregnant. Sheila is the only unsurprised member of the family because she knew that there would always be and awful secret behind everyone and that no matter what you say the inspector will make you confess. She is almost like a member of the audience standing apart at the front of the stage, watching everything unfold and realising what is to happen next. Here I think everyone fears the inspector who should be the only one standing, again, giving an overpowering atmosphere.
There should be a lot of tension, everyone should be on the edge of their seat, Sheila crying, Mrs Birling in shock staring into space, Mr Birling terrified just looking at the inspector with fear while the inspector himself should just stand their in silence. Mrs Birling should pour herself a drink then sit back down while Mr Birling demandingly addresses the inspector. He should stand up to say “My god! But – look here” perhaps in front of Mrs B as if to protect her.
Then when Mrs Birling starts to talk she should start to get very nervous; start to fiddle with her necklace, and even start to shake her head in denial. Sheila should then suddenly interrupt her, almost screaming and crying at her mother until the inspector raises his hand. There should be a very long pause. The door opens and Eric enters. Then Mrs Birling should drop her glass, ‘smash’, this breaks the silence, the tension is at its highest point, and everyone looks at Eric, the curtain drops.
When Eric enters there should be a spotlight on him and he should take one glance at everyone then look down at his feet, not wanting to look at the accusing stares. I think as everyone talks and the tension rises the lighting should get brighter and brighter then switch off when Eric enters, just leaving the dim spot light upon him. This will end the act well and leave the audience in suspense.
The end of this scene is very dramatic therefore I would want the audience to feel quite stunned, asking themselves many questions, what will Eric say, who is the inspector, will Sheila and Gerald still get married? There should be a lot of suspense left in the air and everyone should want the play to continue so that they can find out what happens next. There is a sense of fatalism closing in on the family; their lives are falling apart, just like Eva smiths had.
Soon the truth will be all out in the open and they will all feel guilty heartless people. Mrs Birling will never be ashamed of her callous actions. There will be a lot of hatred from the audience towards her as her cruel behaviour immediately led to the suicide of Eva Smith. They will, however, feel pity for Eva Smith and Sheila and possibly even for Eric who is about to be faced with a lot of tough questions.
Mrs B is desperate not to be accused of anything so she passes all the blame to the father of the child without realising it was her own son. In doing this she made the situation a lot worse by the end of the act. It seems that the whole family is guilty of Eva Smiths death. Every confession is linked and everything deteriorates from a safe engagement at the start, to remorse and insecurity at the end. The audience should understand just how selfish people can be; Mr Birling not wanting to give a raise in wages, Mrs Birling not wanting to help Eva Smith, Sheila getting Eva Smith fired out of jealousy. They were all self-centred acts and they ruined Eva Smiths life as Sheila has said.
Mrs B even started to build barriers so as to protect herself (which are broken down by the inspector), she passes the blame to other people, acts as if everything she had done was for a justified reason and ends up ruining Eva’s life; eventually she will have ruined Eric’s too. Everyone is left in shock and suspense, but the main question everyone should wonder is ‘who is the Inspector and from where did he get all his knowledge concerning Eva Smith?’