Presence, the Play by William Jefferson is an allegorical tale woven across multiple levels: Christian theology, media critique, the hero’s journey, and poetic reimagining of classic works, including Dante’s Inferno and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The storyline leads readers to depths of hell, where they encounter the Reservoirs of Bewilderment, which all inductees to hell must enter.
The reservoirs number five: Fragmentation, Static, Confusion, Chatter, and Delusion.They function as a horrifyingly surreal training camp for Satan’s kingdom. Jefferson deploys the reservoirs as an allegorical device for addressing the discarnate, fragmenting nature of modern media, underpinned algorithms, and AI. Yet beyond the twists, turns, and bewilderment, Presence, the Play offers a hope-filled message of perseverance that leads from hellish darkness to a celebration of Easter light.
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