Jimmy Hendrix and the Screamin’ Yellow Electric Ukulele

One of our students, Sarah, wrote a one-act play which was published.  Her play, along with three others written by students, was chosen to participate in an annual event in a nearby town.  Laurie and I attended the showing tonight.

Sarah’s play was a comedy, which was a refreshing change from the other three which were not.  The plays were directed by adults and had both students and adults in the casts.  Other than one, which was absolutely horrible, they were entertaining.

Since there were 4 one-acts, I guessed there would be an intermission after the second one.


Three of the one-acts were preformed, then there was a period of time when we all sat there in the dark.  I thought the cast for the next play was not quite ready to go on yet. I’ve worked in theatre a long time-18 years-these things happen.

That’s when I noticed three elderly women carrying what appeared to be equipment of some sort and instruments.  They set them up on the stage as someone somewhere turned on the auditorium lights and announced it was intermission.  I thought this was set for the next play.  Minutes later (with no time to use the bathroom) the lights go down again and the three women are on stage with three music stands, a wooden box drum and four or five Ukuleles.  They announce they are the I-Have-No-Idea-Their-Name-Is Ukulele Group and normally there are five of them but only three could be there tonight.  They were going to begin with a few Hawaiian songs and then “the Ukuleles were going to give it hell’.

At this point I was contemplating the fact there are five Ukuleleians in our immediate area.  It seems like a staggeringly large number to me.

The first three songs were Hawaiian songs, very mellow and sleep inducing.  Then came the Hawaiian war song.  I figured this was their “give-it-hell” song and their quaint little performance was finished.

But, no.  No, no, no.

There were several more vaguely familiar songs, followed by Tequilla Song.  In this one we were encouraged to yell out Tequilla! at the appropriate spots.  Then things took a horrible turn.

The middle lady, the director of the ukulele group, put down her acoustic ukulele and picked up a screamin’ yellow electric ukulele.

The trio burst into Black Magic Woman by Santana.


Three elderly women were jammin’ to Black Magic Woman on a screamin’ yellow electric ukulele.

My mouth was hanging open.  I know this because I noticed it and actually thought to myself, “Shut your mouth, your going to drool all over yourself…”

One would assume things could not deteriorate further.

One should never assume.

There were a couple songs following Black Magic Woman, rock songs but ones I was not familiar with.  Then it happened…

Screamin’ Yellow Electric Ukulele lady began to wail on that thing and launched into All Along the Watchtower by Jimmy Hendrix.

I am completely serious.

Watchtower by Hendrix.

At this point the horror of this nightmare was almost more than I could stand.  Since I was in the middle of the row, I was unable to escape without everyone noticing.  And by this time-I quit counting how many songs they had played at 20-I also had to use the rest room urgently.  I began praying someone would just get me out of here…as she sang it and riffed on the screamin’ yellow electric ukulele.

To fully appreciate this, you have to picture famous guitar players when they have their big solo number.  They rock back and forth, make funny faces like they’re really constipated, wiggle their fingers back and forth on the strings-think air guitar if that helps at all.  And Miss 70+ was doing all that and more on her screamin’ yellow electric ukulele…Like Clapton on a mission.  With Miss 75+ and Miss 69-and-holding wailing away on their acoustic ukuleles beside her…

After more than an hour of this, they finally finished.  They were elated with their performance, you could clearly see that.  Unfortunately, the only ones who wanted to hear them play were the three of them.  This whole concert was a self-indulgent romp through whatever mind trip they were experiencing.  The seats in this venue are very tight and uncomfortable, which certainly made everything worse.

Following the evenings events, Laurie and I went to Wendy’s.  We ate a mediocre meal and left.  The skies had opened up.  Laurie said something like, Wow, it’s really coming down to which I replied:  “It’s not rain.  It’s Jimmy Hendricks’ tears.  Up in heaven every dead rocker is pointing at Jimmy and saying:  What did they do to your song, dude? and laughing their butts off.  God is sitting there, throwing His hands up saying:  Hey, I’ve got nothin’ here.  That abomination was not from Me.”

Then it hit us.

And we laughed.

Until we had tears streaming down our cheeks.

I mentioned I had heard of this phenomenon.  People in very tense and stressful situations often experience near hysterical laughter shortly after the experience ends.  I guess our extreme effort to keep it together during the screamin’ yellow electric ukulele rock concert just came bursting out.

I have to say, that laughter helped.

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