“Those were the Days, my Friends…”
The time—1912. Behind us---the Edwardian Age in
. Ahead of us—a New Tomorrow? But for now--a bridge between the old and the
new. What will we do? England
This is the setting into which Priestley has deposited the viewers. Before the Titanic; before WWI. But still suffocating in a caste-type system and gender inequality. For the upper-class, the Birling family this, indeed, will be the threshold for a new tomorrow.
But at a terrible price!
It is the evening of the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, to another upper-crust businessman, Gerald Croft. The young couple fiercely grinning. Mom and Dad are pleased as punch. Son, Eric, has had too much punch. And isn’t everything just too fine for words in their insular world.
And into this mock world appears Inspector Goole. He informs them of the suicide of a young woman. A lady in which they all might have known and, perhaps they, in some way, may have been responsible for her death. And, like the stages of an inevitable death—at first denial, then making excuses, blame, and finally acceptance.
David Roberts as Gerald Croft, Jennica Krohn as Sheila Birling and Paul
Segren as Inspector Goole in the Love Street Playhouse production of "An
Inspector Calls." (Photo provided.)
The death throes of their life style is painful to observe, but necessary for removing the cancers of ignorance and intolerance. The Inspector leaves, giving the family space to wallow in private and explore their shared guilt. And, as a parting shot, he concludes...
“We do not live alone.”
We are our Brother’s Keeper, then. Ah, yes. But will they heed the warning…the lessons they have learned? A hint: some do, some don’t. A microcosm of humanity, then.
But the struggle is not yet over. A couple of major twists remain. For, you see, the questions of…ah, but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?! Trust me when I say that Ms. Christie, the Grand Dame of mysteries, would have been proud. Even Rod Serling, in his Twilight Zone years, would have approved.
|The Birling family enjoys their engagement party prior to the|
Inspector's call. Photos here and below by Ruth Zschomler.
The accents of the cast are uneven, seeming to range from cockney to none at all. And a couple members of the cast seemed to have trouble with lines. But, with time, these, I’m sure, will be ironed out. They strive mightily and well, forging through this difficult material.
|Jennica Krohn as Sheila Birling|
The costumes, especially the women’s, are quite stunning by Fran Krohn, and Melinda Leuthold, Producer and owner of the company. The design and direction are bravely executed by Gregory E. Zschomler. And Jeff Leuthold, as always, has built a terrific set.
Review by Dennis J. Sparks
Mr. Sparks has years of experience in theater as a teacher, director and performer. He was formerly a
theatre reviewer for the
Voice (now defunct), and is currently a free-lance reporter living in Southwest Washington. Vancouver