There are some obvious limitations to shortening the story, most significantly the failure to build up the character of the Wise Man so we cannot see the full impact of how the news of his impending death changes him – however, as a performance piece in itself and excluding any preconceptions or knowledge of the Yeats classic, it does work as a tale of morality and lessons learnt too late.
To summarise, the story is of a teacher of philosophy (Wise Man) who has taught his pupils that God does not exist. When he is visited by the Angel who tells him he will die before the sand in the timer runs out unless he can convince one of them to believe in God, he tries in vain to reverse his teachings but realises he has taught his pupils too well and none of them believe. The only one who could save him is the one he has ridiculed – the Fool – and the tale is neatly finished by him realising that he himself has become the believer, but it is not enough to save him.
The performances were ok overall; some of the dialogue was stumbled over by Louisa Holloway as the Wise Man but she did well to recompose herself and gave a strong performance. The Fool/Angel/Wife being played by the same actress (Krittika Bhattarcharjee) was not so great – her performance was very good and it was easy to differentiate between her different characters, but the play was not long enough or fleshed out sufficiently to make this 3-part character work as well as it could have.
An interesting take on a classic piece, this performance worked well as a concise portrayal of the story.