The faded clippings and primitive exhibits, now housed in a Mt. Airy basement adjacent to the Andy Griffith Museum, don't begin to do their subjects justice. After they took over management of their careers as public performers and toured the world, the 19th century's most famous pair of conjoined twins, Chang and Eng, settled down in Traphill, North Carolina. They took the surname Bunker, owned a plantation (and slaves), married sisters Adelaide and Sarah Anne Yates, and fathered 21 children before they died on the same day in 1874, at age 63.
Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda says he's been working on this "epic fictional reimagining" of their lives for 25 years. The breadth and complexity of their tale was daunting: "I abandoned this project many times over the years. Finally, I let go of everything and wrote. This is what came out," he says.
In a Process Series staged reading at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, visiting screen actor Jon Norman Schneider (The Normals, HBO'sAngel Rodriguez) plays Chang, with a cast including Matt Garner, Thaddaeus Edwards, Derrick Ivey and Bonnie K. Allison Gould. Admission is free. —Byron Woods