Presence, the Play
William E. Jefferson
Port Estillyen Productions (2021)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (5/2021)
In “Presence, the Play,” William Jefferson has crafted an allegorical tale of America today. He begins his story at the Theatre Portesque where Script, the playwright, is awaiting the performance of his play, Presence. Before the performance gets underway, Script faints and suffers a head injury. After Script is taken to the hospital, his friends from Estillyen’s Order of Message Makers begin watching over him. While Script is comatose, he embarks on a journey to save the Isle of Estillyen from Satan’s wrath.
I am not an avid reader of allegorical fiction, but I was immediately immersed in this story. I loved the names of the characters. They were simple and expressed the part they played in the plot of “Presence, the Play.” Names like Sage, Plot, Script, and others were refreshing.
Reading this work truly led me to think more critically about the society I live in. Upon Script’s first trip into Hell, he hears Lucifer say these words. “Never before in the prolonged stretch of human existence did the Race bow down to algorithms, pixels, and dream-filled incarnate visions.” These words cut me to the bone because I see this very thing happening all around me.
Our main character, Script, continues his mission to save the Isle of Estillyen with the historical man named Melchizedek. In one conversation, Melchizedek reminds Script that he is historical and therefore can’t be erased. Every day, I read somewhere that someone wants to rid the country of historical statues or change the names of schools because they have an historical reference. Our society is trying to erase history, but Jefferson has reminded me that history cannot be erased.
Nearing the end of the story, Jefferson has done a magnificent job tying all the events and purposes together. He drives home the point that humanity uses feelings to measure how good society is. Humanism is the word of the day and Jefferson also points out that the human race actually believes “they can embrace a fragmented world and somehow guide it.”
I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed this book. Jefferson has done a phenomenal job crafting his story. The inclusion of dialogues from Nicodemus, Mary, Lazarus, Rufus, Silas, and Sarah are relief in a deep plot. Readers are able to understand the message that spiritual warfare exists and only God can save us. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for understanding of our chaotic world and how we can restore order to it.