Photo Credit – Cliff Cardinal
It is poignant, powerful, funny, touching and deeply disturbing. huff, currently at the NAC , written by and starring Cliff Cardinal, movingly tells the heartbreaking story of Wind and his brothers , (Huff who is younger and Charles is their older brother who is a total bully and perv but a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome.) They are three First Nations youth growing up in the desperate environment of poverty on a reserve after the loss of their mother to suicide.
The play opens with Wind, (the story’s narrator), making a direct appeal to the audience to intervene in his suicide attempt by removing a plastic bag from his head. And from there, he tells the story of his family. The horrifying realities of solvency abuse, suicide, bullying, sexual abuse are exposed and explored and yet, in the midst of all that misery, there are the wonders of true brotherly love, family bonds and empathy , creativity and even childhood innocence.
The staging is incredibly effective. The music choices, the lighting, the backdrop of plastic, the brown paper bag that represents such a sad and destructive escape for the children, all of it is perfect.
As for Cardinal, he is a just brilliant, as in absolutely outstanding storyteller and you are riveted from beginning to end. Even when the plot gets so disturbing you want to look away, you can’t. You are glued to every move, every gesture, every facial expression of this incredibly gifted and talented actor.
Do not miss huff. You have 4 days to catch it. It ends on May 10th. www. nac.ca