Having amassed a considerable fortune through their world tours, Chang and Eng, the renowned Siamese twins (who were born connected by a band of flesh in the breastbone area) decide to settle in North Carolina, where they buy a prosperous farm. They are also hopeful of finding suitable wives, and when the Yates sisters, Sally and Adelaide, appear on the scene, the two brothers are smitten. Wooing the sisters proves easier than convincing their skeptical parents that the two "freaks" would be suitable husbands, but the lack of other suitors and the fact of Chang and Eng's obvious wealth soon tip the scales—and lead on to an unique double union which produces a total of twenty-one children. The brothers had long since developed an ability to "go away" from each other when privacy demanded, to achieve a state of detached oblivion which gives them as much "separateness" as their physical situation will permit, and this allows their marriages to work. But, in time, Chang and Eng begin to weary of touring and of being constantly together: Chang turns increasingly to drink, and Eng gambles away much of his fortune. Yet, in the end, when Chang contracts a fatal illness, which spells death for both of them, the real depth of their closeness and dependency, both physical and spiritual, is made eloquently clear—it, in truth, is what has sustained them through the years and will now do the same for their grieving widows.
Based on the true story of Chang and Eng, the famous Siamese twins who toured the world in the 1800s, and were received by the crowned heads of Europe, the play deals with the private (and surprisingly witty) men behind the celebrities. Continuously engrossing, frequently very funny, and highly imaginative in concept, the play was produced in New York by Off-Broadway's noted Primary Stages Company. "He has composed a clever, tongue-in-cheek play, which combines piercing humor with social insight." —NY City Tribune.