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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Presence, the Play by William Jefferson manages to fill a void in our imagination. In a way, you can experience it if you descend into a deep sleep. In the case of the story’s protagonist, who goes by the name of Script, the narrative unfurls as he goes into a deep coma after he faints and suffers a head injury. In the Isle of Estillyen, during the opening night of his play called Presence, the Theatre Portesque is packed with an audience. After falling from the balcony and cracking the back of his skull, he goes into a deep coma where he enters a different realm and encounters fantastic characters. As he navigates the land, guided by his new acquaintances, they ask him to pass through the gates of Hell to intercept Satan’s diabolical plan to spread blight in the Isle of Estillyen.
The plot of Presence, the Play somehow feels real and important in a way that most fantasy stories don’t. Is it because it plays with the unconscious, and all of us have experienced other worlds when we are in a deep state of slumber? Maybe, but this is also an allegorical tale offering some universal truths echoing what the classics that inspired its creation have told us before. William Jefferson gives you a deep fundamental thrill so your imagination can transport you to a strange land that combines the surreal and the existential. This deep universal appeal will hook you to this story, and it will likely remind you of the fantasy tales you enjoyed reading. In my case, the accident that triggered Script's entrance into a different world largely reminds me of the first book in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Whether or not you enjoy allegorical fantasy tales, Presence, the Play has something to offer that you will gladly welcome.