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Paper Dolls and Other Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Paper Dolls at the Tricycle theatre is written by Philip Himberg, and based on Tomer Heymann's documentary of the same name. It tells the story of five Filipinos, who are living in Israel and working as carers to elderly orthodox men, and who have formed a drag singing group called the Paper Dolls. Their name derives from the newspapers they use to make their costumes.
The men, who are all gay and refer to themselves as females, care not only for their charges, but also for each other. In the absence of their own families, they are more sisters than friends. Sally, the main character, is also more a surrogate daughter than a mere carer to his employer Chaim, whom he constantly refers to as Papa.
Paper Dolls explores what it means to be an outsider in Israel; demonstrates how the men adapt to Israeli customs, food and religious practices and interrogates the meanings of family and belonging. Not only are the five protagonists gay, but so are two Israelis, and all are accepted by the men they care for. Chaim is an orthodox Jew, but the other employers are even more observant Chasidim, although secular Jews make up the other cast members. Contrasted with the ranges of Judaism, the Filipinos continue to cling to their Catholic beliefs; everything is tolerated and accepted.
Paper Dolls is categorised as a play with music, and the musical numbers are flamboyant and enjoyable. Some of the costumes worn by the 'women' are glitzy and sequined, and their wigs are even more brightly coloured, while the song and dance routines are a huge amount of fun. You will find yourself singing along with them and tapping your feet and agreeing with Cyndi Lauper that 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun'.