In the stage diagram I have tried to show this, and all the movements of the characters. I thought from the actual text of the play, and in the way the play’s stage directions are written, that the Inspector is trying to ease into the room so not focus attention on to himself, so it is a surprise for the characters and they don’t notice he’s there and carry on talking. As far as I can see Gerald is trying to persuade Sheila into believing him, and Sheila is listening, so Gerald is walking forward and Sheila walking backwards.
Later in the dialogue Sheila’s character becomes more dominating telling Gerald that its not worth it and puts pressure on Gerald. At this point the movements would be reversed Sheila walking forward in control and Gerald retreating away. When the Inspector says “Well” they turn round to face him; I did this to emphasise the characters shock at the entrance. The Inspector’s character will come in slowly. Like Priestly’s original stage directions the door will open slowly revealing the Inspector standing in shadow. He will say, “Well” just as Sheila finishes her dialogue.
Then again at the beginning of Act Two he will move forwards and say “well”. The Inspector will move towards the characters keeping eye contact with Gerald. I think this is a very dramatic entrance and the lighting should reflect this in its dramatic effect. When Gerald and Sheila are talking the lighting should be slightly dim but not dark. As they are talking the lighting should dim until the characters are barely visible. At this point a spotlight should focus on the door at the back of the stage. Then the door should open slowly to show the Inspector in silhouette.
He should then say “well” just as the curtain drops to keep the audience guessing as to who was in the doorway. When the curtain rises again at the beginning of act two the stage should be brightly lit with the door still fully open and the Inspector should be still in shadow until he walks into the light and towards Gerald to say “well again”. This entrance as a whole has a lot of dramatic impact because it is the Inspector walking in on Gerald admitting to Sheila about Eva Smith or Daisy Renton. In that sense it is also a key point in the play as another person is confessing and another piece of the puzzle of Eva Smith is put into place.
The dialogue just before, and immediately after emphasises the dramatic impact of this entrance. After having this conversation with Sheila, Gerald says “You don’t, neither of us does. So for god’s sake don’t say anything to the Inspector. ” To the audience this seems ironic, because Gerald is trying to keep something away from the Inspector, that the Inspector already knows. Later on Sheila says, (rather hysterically) “Why you fool he knows. Of course he knows and I hate to think how much he knows that we don’t yet. You’ll see you’ll see”.
This again makes an impact because Sheila is telling Gerald that he’s not going to be able to keep anything away from the Inspector and showing him where things stand. Gerald is hoping the Inspector doesn’t know anything and hasn’t realised, but Sheila has understood he knows and is pulling him back down to earth. This is reflected in the stage directions, which say, “she looks at him almost in triumph. He looks crushed. ” Another sentence that adds enormously to the dramatic impact of this entrance is when the Inspector says “well?
” at the end of Act One and beginning of Act Two. This adds to the dramatic tension because it is the introduction of the Inspector to this scene, and because Gerald’s secret has been heard, or has it? The audience isn’t sure whether the Inspector heard what was said or how long he has been standing there. The audiences’ attention has been on Gerald and Sheila’s conversation so they have no idea about the Inspector this adds more tension. At the beginning of Act Two the Inspector says “Well? ” again but this time it seems more directed as if now he is talking to Gerald personally.