Review: Slavery To Star Trek

by Jane

This review originally appeared on www.lowdown.net.au

From Slavery To Star Trek is a great Fringe show for the Youth Education Program not only because it is a reduction of theatre down to perhaps its most elemental–the art of storytelling–but because this is history perhaps at it’s most elemental–the stories of individuals.

African American Australian Andreea Kindryd’s ancestors and relatives swum across the Mississippi to move back in to slavery to be with the people they loved; they had families of eight children, all of whom got an education in a time when many people didn’t; they shot men in the Ku Klux Klan and escaped to California; they wrote hit songs for Elvis. Her mother worked as a hairdresser for many stars, including Nat King Cole, and was distressed by Kindryd’s choice to show off her natural kinky hair.

Kindryd didn’t just live through the civil rights era: she spoke on the radio with Malcolm X; she was Martin Luther King’s PA (“okay, for a day” she admits); and this is only the tip of the iceberg in her friendships with these two men. After college, she moved to New York and worked on a radio station in Harlem, and moving back to California, she was one of two African Americans hired to work for Lucille Ball’s production company Desilu Productions. There she worked on many shows, in particular the original Star Trek, where she worked for producer and inventor of Klingon Gene Coon, and kissed George Takei.

To hear these stories first hand (or second or third hand in a direct ancestral line) in any case would be a privilege, but Kindryd is a generous, funny, loving and exciting storyteller. She not only recounts the stories of her and her family’s lives, she takes on their characters, re-enacting their situations and conversations.

With five minutes left at the end of the show she asked for questions, and her stage manager reminded her she didn’t even talk about William Shatner this time.

Because this is storytelling, and not scripted theatre, because this is the story of such an incredible life, Kindryd presents the very real idea that every show is going to be different from the last.

I think that is part of the adventure with Kindryd’s show: she doesn’t quite know where she’s going to take you, so the audience certainly has no idea.

In the Red Room at the Tuxedo Cat there is little more than a red curtain, a plume of red feathers in a jar, a glass of water, a note book and Kindryd and her stories. And Kindryd is all you need for a great piece of theatre; a great piece of storytelling.

Andreea Kindryd presents Slavery to Star Trek.  Tuxedo Cat Red Room, Adelaide Fringe.  Season Closed.

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