Andreea Kindryd is hands down the most interesting person I have ever interviewed.
Movie stars and celebrity crushes from my teen years past pale in comparison to Kindyrd and the warmth, honesty and frankness she exudes. I’m not joking: I genuinely wish that I could talk to her every day.
Kindryd has also lived a fascinating life, one that would put most of us to shame. She has been a cast member on the original Star Trek series, a hippie, an Indigenous rights campaigner, a one time associate of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and the subject of an investigation by the FBI.
This year, Kindryd is set to bring her gift of the gab to the Sydney Fringe Festival. As far as she’s concerned, the Festival wanted her presence for one reason, and one reason alone: her mouth. “Basically I just like to talk a lot,” Kindryd laughs.
“I started off just trying to write stuff for my grandkids. They wanted to know how I met Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. My grandson then had a child and wanted to know where we came from, and the slave stories in my family are quite interesting. They’re not as tragic as they could have been. One of them didn’t take shit off anybody: she got herself a shotgun.”
As with so many writers and comedians, part of what drove Kindryd to laughter and later to the stage, was personal tragedy. “My daughter committed suicide and I didn’t know what to do,” Kindyrd says.
“I live across the street from a comedy room so I started going because I desperately needed to laugh. One day somebody mentioned that there was a comedy course for women. So I went there. Later, when we performed at Mardis Gras, I came out to my straight daughter, bisexual daughter and gay daughter as a mysexual – basically, I do it myself.”
After chatting a bit more about her incredible life, including a period during which she dated a comedian 33 years her junior (making her my new personal hero), we get onto what makes a good storyteller. Kindyrd argues it isn’t always about caricature or having a gift for mimicking voices.
“I just try to do what we’re doing right now: I like to talk to people,” she says. “Who knows what this show will be like on what night. I have a list of things that I’ve promised to cover, though they might not be in the exact same order. I do try to have a through line: from slavery to Star Trek to the Southern Cross, which is me coming to Australia.”
Giving but a brief snippet of the show, Kindyrd begins to zoom through some of her life experiences. “When I worked on Star Trek, my family had gone from slavery to the stars. Later, when I moved to Hong Kong I became a ‘gweilo’ – just an ordinary foreign devil just like my Swedish, British and Malaysian friends. We were all the same, and the colour didn’t matter there because I was with a different group.
“All of us were tribal and liked travelling with groups of people like us, so that’s when I started on the hippy trail. That was fun because my tribe became those who lived in sarongs.”
Kindryd laughs. “I don’t know,” she says, her voice rich with contentment. “I just had fun when I was younger and I’m still having fun! I’m just trying to find me and be real.”
Andreea Kindryd’sFrom Star Trek To The SouthernCross is on atCamperdown Commons onThursday September 22 and The Imperial Hotel onSunday September 18,as part of Sydney Fringe Festival 2016. Head here for tickets.