Welcome! This website archives all of the exciting research and performance at UNC Chapel Hill on the history of the Bunker twins, popularly known as the “Siamese twins.” These 19th century celebrities settled in North Carolina, and many of their papers and artifacts are housed at UNC’s Wilson Library.
Master playwright Philip Kan Gotanda reworks one of his newest plays, an epic and fictional reimagining of the lives of the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker. Originally brought to America to be exhibited as freaks, Chang and Eng took over management of their own careers and set about touring the world. Internationally famous and financially independent, they retired to North Carolina, becoming gentlemen farmers where they met and married the Yates sisters, fathering 21 bi-racial children between them. The writing of this story has been a 25-year project of Gotanda’s. “I abandoned this project many times over the years,” said Gotanda. “Finally, I let go of everything and wrote. This is what came out.”
Portions of this play were read on campus last year in an event that also showcased student research on the Wilson Library Bunker collections for the Friends of the Library in December 2011 (click on the Past Events button above for more information). We are delighted to welcome Philip Gotanda back to North Carolina with a full version of this exciting new work.
Gotanda has been a major influence in the broadening of our definition of theater in America. Through his plays and advocacy, he has been instrumental in bringing stories of Asians in the United States to American theater as well as to Europe and Asia. Among his recent works are After the War, Love in American Times, #5 Angry Red Drum, and the opera Apricots of Andujar. His plays have been produced by American Conservatory Theater, Asian American Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Campo Santo+Intersection, San Jose Repertory, East West Players, The Gate Theatre, Huntington Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, Mingei Geikidan, New York Shakespeare Festival among others. Gotanda is also a respected independent filmmaker, his works having been seen in film festivals around the world. His three films The Kiss, Drinking Tea and Life Tastes Good have all been presented at the Sundance Film Festival. Life Tastes Good, which Gotanda wrote and directed, is available on Netflix.
Additional support for this event is provided by UNC’s First-Year Seminar Program and the Department of English and Comparative Literature with additional support by Teatro Latina/o Series.
This website is currently under construction.