MainStreet Award

 

 

Directors' Choice Award Winner

| script | breakdown | synopsis |

Chang & Eng

music by Stephen Hoffman, lyrics by Mark Campbell, book by Burton Cohen

Music

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Musical selections

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Script

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Breakdown

Chang Bunker– Ages from thirties to sixties.

Eng Bunker – His brother. Ages from thirties to sixties

Sally Yates – Southern. Ages from twenties to fifties

Adelaide Yates – Southern. Her sister. Ages from twenties to fifties

Older Character Man – The Professor, Dr. James Callaway, Mr. David Yates, Photographer

Older Character Woman – Ming Ting Ling, Charlotta Dupuy, Mrs. Nancy Yates. (Padded to be very fat as Mrs. Yates.), Photographer’s Assistant

Synopsis

What happens when two international “super stars” settle down in a small tobacco growing town in North Carolina and marry two local sisters? Furthermore, what occurs when the two stars are also “Siamese Twins”? “Chang & Eng” explores a true and unique love story, chock full of arrangements and accommodations. It also deals with the affect it has on the girls’ family and townspeople.

Basically, the vacationing Siamese Twins, now locals, become smitten with two sisters and the process of wooing and winning them, as well as convincing their families and neighbors turns out to be both unusual and madcap. The play then explores this “different” marriage that produced 25 children between both couples.

The second act finds them 20 years older and opens with their traveling show that demonstrates how they actually “mate”, giddy in it’s desire to be both “normal” and “holy”. It has been created to regain losses incurred during the Civil War. Time has taken a toll both on their marriages and the twins themselves. Chang and Eng decide that they have become “stuck together” too long and will finally go off to Europe and become “separated” once and for all. The trip has dire consequences that are surprising and  unforeseen. At the end of the play, the two women realize that their marriage to the twins has had a profound effect on their own relationship.

The larger theme of the piece is a conflict we all live with. The need to be “attached” to someone as opposed to the desire to strike out on one’s own and be independent.

Notes

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