Karla has just turned 50 and is looking for love, which is not easy as she keeps getting dumped – most recently by her violin-playing boyfriend, Brian.
Her real name is Carlotta – “like a lotta cars”, but she prefers Karla – with a K – like a Kardashian.
Karla is one of those people who’s fallen through the cracks of life. She’s never married, never had kids and never had a career.
Between working at Pack n’ Track with her friends Leonie and Julie, and caring for her aged Mum, she’s struggling to find her place in a changing world.
But our Karla is not a quitter. She’s resourceful and creative and a little bit politically incorrect.
Whenever she needs to express herself, she writes a rhyme – and plays he ukulele.
Karla’s YouTube ukulele teachers
Karla’s teachers are all fictional affectionate parodies of the many ukulele teachers on YouTube.
All are male, except six-year-old Gloria Stardust, who may be played by an adult of any gender.
This gender imbalance is because Karla is very focused on finding a man and is looking for a male figure in her life – and because we used the same male actor for all these roles.
But if your uke group is mostly women, they can play the men, or you can mix up the genders. Anything for a laugh.
In order of appearance, Karla’s YouTube teachers are:
Spruikin’ Uken Luke is Karla’s first YouTube teacher. He’s North American, fatherly and teaches her the names of the strings.
Bret McLean is young and handsome and as ocker as you get, and Karla is entranced – until he suggests she learn Frere Jacques.
Tiny Tom is obsessed with his namesake ukulele-playingTiny Tim and all the other great artists of the past. He helps Karla learn her first song.
Gloria Stardust is a six-year-old lisping prodigy who teaches ukulele on her very own channel.
Uncle Scraggy is a wise-old codger from the American South who seems to always know what lesson Karla needs to learn next.
Pierre Vert is a snooty Frenchman who gives Karla just the ammunition she needs when her friend Julie teases her about the ukulele being “a toy.
Baba Bill is a canny Scotsman who runs Ukulele Nirvana and preaches peace and love, assuring Karla that it’s so easy to fall in love.
The NUTS and GRUBS leaders
Karla finally gets some real-life teachers when she joins a the fictional ukulele groups the NUTS (Newstead Ukulele Troupe) and the GRUBS (Guildford Regional Ukulele Band).
Jeremy is the NUTS Leader, along with his partner, Joel. He’s warm and friendly, which is why Karla is convinced he likes her.
Joel is the NUTS is the love of Jeremy’s life, much to Karla’s disappointment and envy. Why is everyone getting married except her?
Ruth is the GRUBS Leader. Like her fellow GRUBS, she’s been around the Monopoly board a few times and is little cynical about love.
Wade – the man of her dreams?
Wade is a widower and a passionate ukulele player. His second wife, Lydia was American. She died of ovarian cancer two years earlier and Wade is still grieving.
Karla meets him on the dating site Romance-R-US and is immediately impressed because he plays the ukulele AND has his own channel – WhatWadePlayed.
When he meets Karla, he’s in Sacramento, LA, helping Lydia’s Mum with some legal issues.
Wade understands what Karla is going through with her Mum, and her passion for the ukulele.
What could possibly go wrong?
Maestro – the man who “gets” her
Maestro mysteriously turns up at the GRUBS meeting, replacing Ruth, who is on tour with Brittni Paiva, the world famous Hawaiian ukulele player who plays all that jazzy stuff.
A cross between Clint Eastwood and Antonia Banderas, he is mature, romantic, and passionate. He insists that Karla should not play the ukulele – she should make love to it.
Through Maestro, Karla discovers that her rhymes are really lyrics and her true talent is writing songs.
Mum – meant to be –that’s Mum’s philosophy
Mum is a chain-smoking fatalist. If something happens it’s “meant to be” and if it doesn’t it’s “not meant to be”.
While Mum never appears in the play, she is a big part of Karla’s life. Karla has no siblings and her father is dead or absent, so it’s just Mum and Karla.
They don’t live together, but they talk every day.
Like all mothers, she worries – especially that one of those guys on that dating site will be a serial killer. But she knows that one day Karla will find where she belongs.
Brian – the bastard who dumps her
Brian is the first violin in the West Bendigo Chamber Orchestra and has just dumped Karla for Kylie, the cellist.
Eventually, we meet him – when he’s been dumped by Kylie and is desperate to join a uke club (“There are no clubs for violin-players”)
Brian can appear on stage in person OR you can do what we did in the Guildford premiere and just have one of your actors behind a door voicing Brian, while Karla tries to keep him from coming in and joining the club.
Either way, Brian is a bastard who gets his come-uppance.