At the beginning of the play, J.B. Priestley gives a very elaborate and detailed amount of stage settings, lighting and character descriptions. These were so detailed as Priestley wanted the mood of the first scene to linger through out the whole play. For example "The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy and home like." This was obviously taken in to account in the television production, as the extremely large table was the central point of the beginning. The size of the table showed that although the characters were a family, they were not close, not even to eat and celebrate with each other.
The wealth of the family was portrayed extremely well in the television production. The set was authentic and traditional to the early twentieth century. The rich colours and costumes were excellent ways of showing the wealth of the characters. They were also portrayed very well to be pleased with themselves, just as in the stage direction at the beginning.
The stage production at the Victoria Theatre in Woking had an impressively sinister set, shrouded in smoke, which reflected the grim nature of the play's subject matter. In this production the Birling household was situated high up on a platform, which reflects their arrogance and superiority over other people. Edna, the housemaid, is one of those people as she is considered below the Birlings. Her lower class characteristics are clear, because of the fact that she stays out of the house and outside in the rain while the Birlings celebrate, on a higher level than her.
Mr. Birling's speeches at the beginning of the play in act one are very bombastic and are filled with dramatic irony - 'The Titanic, unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable' - 'Silly little war scares'. He is over and unrealistically optimistic...