Go Deeper

Philly Fringe Vital Stats: Lauren Rile Smith

Posted August 26th, 2011

In “Vital Stats,” you’re getting to know your Philly Fringe artists a little bit better. Today, a circus arts impresario:

Name: Lauren Rile Smith, founder of Tangle Movement Arts.

Age: 24.

What’s your show title? Ampersand, the typographical notation for “and.” Our show is about bringing together genres, bringing together experiences, and bringing together fantasy and reality in our acrobatic storytelling. Also, ampersands are the sexiest design element.

What was the first thing you stole? When I was seven years old, I figured out how to shoplift penny candy from Wawa. This delicious career came to a swift and painful end when I realized I had not yet figured out how to explain my sudden wealth to my parents.

What was the last performance you saw? My partner’s eight-year-old sister was a stilt-walking star in her summer camp’s final show. Before that, LAVA’s encyclopedia.

What’s your favorite Philly intersection? Right now, it’s 43rd Street and Chester Avenue in West Philadelphia. That’s Clark Park, where we perform tinycircus, our monthly free public aerial and acrobatic show.

Who’s your favorite Phillies player? I’m a sports atheist.

Do you have relatives more famous than you? My sister Caeli Smith, a Juilliard violinist, is a YouTube celebrity in the world of classical music, with over 4 million views. And my sister Pascale Smith is a talented songwriter, award-winning playwright, and actor who is also producing her own Philly Fringe Festival show, BASH. Pascale appeared in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village in 2004, so she’s already more famous than I’ll ever be.

Do you own a gun? If so, have you fired it in anger? I own a water-gun, which I have only ever fired out of love.

What is your job, if you’re not a full-time artist? I’m the assistant to the Curator of Printed Books at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania. Lifting heavy folios is great cross-training for a trapeze artist.

What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen on SEPTA? Entitled hipsters who won’t give up their seat for a grandmother hauling groceries.

Ampersand runs for three performances on September 8 and 9 at Philadelphia Soundstages, 1600 N. 5th Street, Kensington. Times vary, $15.

–Nicholas Gilewicz