Huff begins with a suicide attempt. This sets the tone for Cliff Cardinal’s fearless solo look at the underbelly of Canada’s indigenous community. What emerges through Cardinal’s dynamic and discomforting tale of three brothers is a picture of disenfranchisement, brutalisation, inter-familial abuse and collective dysfunction. This is told through the voice of Wind and his kid brother Huff, feral little punks getting high on anything they can.
Cardinal is a human whirlwind throughout Karin Randoja’s production, originally presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and co-produced here by Cunning Concepts and Creations as part of Summerhall’s CanadaHub strand. Beyond geographical specifics, there is a recognisable universality at play. This is what happens to marginalised communities the world over. When Wind decides to live, it’s the first messy step in recognising that it doesn’t have to be that way.