I was kindly sent a finished copy of The Oberon Book of Queer Monologues to review by Oberon Books. I couldn’t resist the urge to get my hands on this gorgeous collection being a drama graduate and a blogger. In my last year of university I studied contemporary plays which focused on diverse theatre and covered a variety of world issues, so I was excited to expand my LGBT+ knowledge. As their advertising states, the book “chronicles over one hundred years of queer and trans performance”, and I certainly enjoyed this as a drama enthusiast and a blogger.
Normally I’m one to completely ignore the forward in any book and just hope for the best, but Scottee’s words were really interesting and I enjoyed reading about his thoughts surrounding LGBT+ theatre and the process of compiling the monologues. It was clear that LGBT+ theatre existed long before decriminalisation , which was really interesting. He also aimed to represent each letter of the LGBT+ acronym whilst simultaneously shedding light on unknown playwrights without ‘sidelining’ the infamous. I was definitely excited to get reading.
The monologues start in the 1900s and go all the way up to 2017 and are even categorised by year. Before each monologue there was a brief synopsis of the play and a description of social and historical contexts the play was written in. This is super helpful as a performer as surface research to begin to understand the characters and the events. This was also interesting as a blogger as I learnt lots as I was reading. There were also key words at the bottom so you could look for specific types of monologues.
This collection was already proving itself to be a real treasure as I discovered plays I’d never even heard of. It was amazing to read about the LGBT+ experience and perception spanning over 100 years of theatre. The unknown plays held themselves against the famous ones I’d studied before. When I first received The Oberon Book of Queer Monologues I picked it up for a quick scan but ended up captivated by the monologues, so much so I didn’t know how long I’d been reading. Each monologue told its own story and I was compelled by the words on the page. Some were fun and entertaining, whereas others were moving and emotional. Each page gave me a glimpse into another life, tackling so many important issues.
I’m so glad I requested a copy of The Oberon Book of Queer Monologues as this was a wonderful read and a fabulous resource. There were some rare and wonderful monologues included that I never would’ve discovered otherwise. I was moved by many of the words and I’ll definitely strive to continue to see and read more diverse theatre. I would certainly recommend this collection to theatre practitioners and lovers, as well as anyone with an interest in LGBT+ writing. Thanks again to Oberon Books for sending me a finished copy to love and review, as well as three plays which are featured in the collection.