Everyone knows that the most interesting words to learn in a new language are the smutty ones. The creative swear words, the saucy pickup lines, and how to say, 'I love you', or maybe just, 'let's fuck', to that hot international Fringe performer.
In Naughty Hands, infamous Auslan (Australian Sign Language) teacher Barry Priori takes a break from teaching the signs for 'hello, how are you?' and other everyday language. Instead, he has audience members reach into the swear jar to read out words like ‘clitoris’, ‘male stripper’ and ‘piss off’, then offers their signed translation.
The beauty of Auslan being a visual language is that it’s quite intuitive. We could all guess the sign for ‘male orgasm’, for example. There were at least four versions of bullshit. If you’re an 80’s kid, you might remember that one from primary school, with your forearms on top of each other, one hand as horns, and the other as shit – apparently that’s American Sign Language. So there are heaps of other ways to call bullshit.
Priori is endearing and funny, and quickly had the audience hooting with laughter (if only your high school French teacher could’ve done the same). A few games of Chinese Whispers, using volunteers from the audience, were particularly entertaining.
He encourages the crowd to get their whole body and facial expressions in on the act. None of this dead pan, straight-faced business when we're talking dirty. Soon we're all making sexy eyes at each other and graphically demonstrating exactly how that asshole can get fucked. And it's hilarious.
Naughty Hands is a chance for beginners to get a taste of how to communicate with the deaf community – and for native speakers to brush up on their insults. Most of all, it's a whole lot of good, not-so-clean fun.
Priori gives the audience an important gift – he shows us there are far more interesting ways to give someone the finger.