The attitudes of each of the characters would also remain the same, as in; the older generation have the opinion that they are not responsible for what Eva Smith did, do not admit to any fault of their own, and are very rigid in their thoughts and opinions of others, especially those of a lower class. The younger generation, i.e. Sheila and Eric, would be sympathetic to Eva Smith, and consider themselves at least partly responsible for their actions that led to Eva’s death. This is still relevant today, as it shows Priestley’s hopes that it is the younger generation which listen most to the Inspector’s message, that of collective responsibility. It could be compared to an example of which is being constantly told to the younger generation, that of global warming.
In terms of who they are and what jobs they occupy, Birling would be a self-made business man, but while being rich, he would not be upper class. Instead he will be the son of a traditional English family, and their habits and attitudes will have passed onto him, which, combined with his wealth, makes him feel like he’s upper class. He won’t have been a past mayor, but instead a member of the council. With this in mind, the family will be moulded around him with the basis of their backgrounds from the original in mind.
In contrast to the stage production, music would not accompany the play. Instead, to build tension and to increase dramatic effect, I would rely on the conversation and the dramatic irony (adumbration) as well as the effects generated from the storm outside. The storm will throw lightning across the backdrop, with it striking at specific moments to heighten the tension. A constant murmur of rain will play, which will add to the anxiety.
The timing of entrances and exits will also remain the same, as I believe that the timing Priestley uses in An Inspector Calls is how it should be, for example at the end of act two, when the Inspector manages to make Mrs. Birling give her opinion on what should be done to the man who made Eva Smith pregnant, and just after that, Eric walks in. Throughout the play, several other ideas also appear. And these are the class wars, and the capitalism versus labour. These appear through what the characters say, for example Birling near the beginning, which, not only does it show the idea of capitalism versus labour, but also once more foreshadows war.
Birling: and I tell you, by that time you’ll be living in a world that’ll have forgotten all these Capital versus Labour agitations and all these silly little war scares. These ideas are still valid and very much relevant today, however, compared to how they were seen when it was written, I believe a more pertinent issue which is closer to people’s hearts and minds today would be better suited for the play. An issue such as terrorism and immigrants from other countries would have the same effect as Priestly intended when he originally wrote it.
As such Eva Smith could be cast as a young, Polish female, who came to Britain to seek a secure future. The point of making the play more relevant to today’s world is so that Priestley’s original message can still be easily conveyed to the present generation. The theme of a collective responsibility is still there: but just shown in different circumstances and with a dissimilar portrayal of the world around Eva Smith’s death.