Latest Stories

Former Repertory actor bags lead role in play on cross-dressing Filipino caregivers


JON Norman Schneider, Ron Domingo, Francis Jue, Angelo Paragoso, Benjamin Wong in “Paper Dolls”

Former Repertory Philippines actor Angelo Paragoso has been cast in “Paper Dolls,” a play written by American director/playwright Philip Himberg, adapted from the documentary film of the same title by Israeli director Tomer Heymann.

The documentary, which had its Philippine premiere in 2006, “follows the lives of … migrant workers from the Philippines who work as health care providers for elderly Orthodox Jewish men [in Tel Aviv] and perform as drag queens during their spare time.”

The play “Paper Dolls” held its world premiere at The Tricycle Theatre, London. Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) staged its own musical “Care Divas” in 2011, also inspired by the documentary.

With British director Indhu Rubasingham at the helm, the cast also includes two Filipino-American actors: Ron Domingo and Jon Norman Schneider, who play siblings Chiqui and Jorgio, respectively.

Domingo was in the cast of Ma-Yi Theater’s “The Romance of Magno Rubio” when it played at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in the early 2000s.

Comic relief

ANGELO Paragoso

Paragoso plays Zhan in “Paper Dolls.” “He’s the comic relief character. He’s very dramatic, naughty. He’s the scene-stealer. I sometimes just say I play the short, fat, funny one in the show,” Paragoso says via e-mail. His agent had put him in for the show and he did three callbacks before landing the role. “Quite nerve-wracking!”

Paragoso was born in Manila and made his stage debut in Rep’s “The King and I.” Aside from acting for Rep, he was also a dancer for Philippine Ballet Theater and Powerdance.

He moved to the Netherlands in 1996 to join the original Dutch cast of “Miss Saigon” and remained to perform in the original Dutch production of the musical “Fame.” He eventually became a company member of the Holland Show Ballet.

In 2001, he moved to London and has performed for UK national tours of “Miss Saigon” and in such shows as “The Reporter” (National Theatre), “Peter Pan” (Manchester Opera House) and “Aladdin” (Theatre Royal Stratford East).

Cultural consultant

Since Paragoso actually grew up in Manila, he became a cultural consultant of sorts for the production. “I had to ask my [Filipino] friends for help, especially with the gay expressions which I am not that up-to-date with,” he says.

ANGELO Paragoso (standing, far left) as Prince Chulalongkorn in Repertory Philippines’ “The King and I”

“The text is very well-written. Philip is amazing!” he says about working with an original script. “He was able to capture how Filipinos would speak English, how we Filipinos sometimes translate Tagalog into English in our minds and then speak.

“During the rehearsal period, a lot of changes were made [to the original draft] to convey the story better. We tried out a lot of things and it was extremely helpful for all of us as we learned so much about the characters in the play.

“The Filipino culture and Jewish culture are so well-represented in this play. It’s such a complex story … it’s quite a challenge to do this knowing it’s based on real people.”

Several of the documentary subjects who are now based in London were able to watch the show and meet the cast.  “It was weird to meet the person I’m playing. They were very lovely people. They said it brought back memories about their lives then.”

(Salvador “Sally” Camatoy, one of the caregivers featured in the documentary, was found dead in the United Arab Emirates in 2007).

For Paragoso, doing the show has been “a lot of fun! [It’s] a lot of hard work but I’m very privileged to be working with some of the best people in the industry. We all get on very well. I don’t feel like I’m working!”

He adds: “Indhu and Philip are absolutely wonderful to work with. As an actor, to be given so much freedom by the director and playwright to portray a role is a dream. They nurtured us in a way I’ve never experienced before, and I’m very grateful.”

“Paper Dolls” runs until April 13 at The Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London. Contact +44-20-7328-1000 or info@tricycle.co.uk.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Angelo Paragoso , Cross-dressing , Lifestyle , Paper Dolls , Theater

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks