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Departing from his home, the moon, a wise old man travels with his weathered precious trunk to a world that has forgotten how to laugh. Hoping to extinguish cynicism and judgement and replace it with joy and curiosity, he brings an arsenal of clowns, ignorant to the rules of the world. Together, these clowns must embark on a quest to find that beautiful laugh. Searching through each other and their audience the clowns will discover and examine every avenue of laughter; love, joy, mischief, pain, fear, sadness and more, hoping to find the laugh that they have all been waiting for…That Beautiful Laugh.

That Beautiful Laugh conceived by Orlando Pabotoy Directed by Turner Munch

March 2013 @ Long Beach Playhouse

starring… Emily Brennick as PRINCESS TYRONE Julia Davis as COSETTE OF THE PEOPLE Andrew Eiden as MARVIN Mike Funt as ANTOINE MCGROE Dave Honigman as TOM Connor Kelly-Eiding as PEKING DUCK

Assistant Director & Costume Designer Lis Roche Stage Manager Ashley Jo Navarro Set Designer William Sammons Lighting Designer Donny Jackson

June 212 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival @ Open Fist June 2012 @ 2012 Best of Hollywood Fringe Festival @ Theatre Asylum

starring… Kevin Di Leo as KRUMPITZ Andrew Eiden as MARVIN Dave Honigman as TOM Connor Kelly-Eiding as PEKING DUCK Raymond Lee as O’PRECIOUS Bri Price as ROBECCA Lis Roche as LORETTA

Associate Producers Kat Primeau & Alexis Jones Lighting Designer Hector Quinteros Set Designer Amy Ramirez Stage Manager: Essence Brown

REVIEWS: That Beautiful Laugh

Alison Royer, Life in LA - June 14, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

On June 8th, as part of The Hollywood Fringe Festival, I walked into Open Fist Theater to see That Beautiful Laugh presented by Four Clowns. Seeing as my life is in a state of perpetual disaster, I was late, inappropriately dressed, and seated next to a three-year-old. I doubted if anything, clowns included, could improve my mood. At the very least, I was certain I’d be distracted by a toddler through the duration of this performance. As usual, I was wrong.

As testament to Four Clowns’ dazzling and captivating performance, that three-year-old didn’t budge once. He was enthralled. He wasn’t the only one. The 99-seat house was packed with an incredibly diverse audience. It seems the one thing that unites Los Angeles is a quest for laughter and a slew of bulbous, red noses.

Conceived by Orlando Pabotoy and directed by Turner Munch, the show is set in a world in which everyone has forgotten how to laugh and follows a wise old man and a troupe of clowns on a poignant quest to rediscover That Beautiful Laugh. On this interactive journey, we laughed, we cried, we were scared and sometimes we got lost. Through movement, music and some pretty elaborate props, Four Clowns tested us. They surprised us, they gained our trust and they broke our hearts. After all that, they asked if we were ready to find laughter again. And we were. This originally developed piece was rewarded with a standing ovation.

As I was leaving the theatre that damn 3-year-old was still in tow. He was seemingly riveted by a Four Clown’s postcard as he sauntered down the street. In his distracted state, he tripped and fell. His mother was closely behind and we all froze to see how he would react. He should have cried, our pouted, or screamed for his mommy but instead…he just laughed.

- Alison Royer

Travis Michael Holder, Backstage West Critic’s Pick – June 17 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist


All the world loves a clown, and for the past two annual Hollywood Fringe Festivals, L.A. has loved Four Clowns, naming the troupe best physical theater and dance entry in 2010 and the coveted Top of the Fringe last year. This time out, with “That Beautiful Laugh,” the quartet has become a septet, perhaps indicating that those mandatory fake red noses are cheaper to buy in quantity.

There’s nothing here to ponder as these seven young performers with no physical boundaries or even a soupcon of inhibition make infectiously silly fools of themselves. The thin premise is that our friends travel from the moon, all emerging from a battered steamer trunk to help a world that has forgotten how to laugh. In the next hour of pratfalls and bare-bones gimmicks, from a shadow puppet diorama of Hollywood (complete with a cutout labeled “smog”) to a contest deciding who can come onstage sporting the largest nose (the final one barely fitting through the side curtains), these folks succeed splendidly in taking the cares of the world and packing them away—along with the audience laughter they collect in a glowing mason jar.

- Travis Michael Holder

Kenneth Hughes, Flavorpill - June 6, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist


Four Clowns come with a powerful, humor-fueled physicality that’s fearless, fun, and full of mayhem. After touring the country, winning a bunch of awards, and bringing down the house during last year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival with their rendition of Romeo and Juliet, Four Clowns are back, and they’re looking for laughs — literally. That Beautiful Laugh involves a wise man who wants to end cynicism by replacing it with joy and curiosity instead. The untethered clowns are set on a quest to find the eponymous laugh, and they won’t stop until they get it.

- Kenneth Hughes, Flavorpill

John Farrell, Press Telegram - March 7, 2013 @ Long Beach Playhouse

It has taken several years for "That Beautiful Laugh" to come together in its current version at the Long Beach Playhouse's Studio Theatre, but the results have been well worth the wait.

You aren't going to find a better show, more laughs, more heart, more simple fun anywhere. And the show is determinedly family-friendly.

It's filled with slapstick, with jokes as old as time, and yet everything is fresh, delightful, up close and personal. The clowns are not only close and friendly; they come out into the audience to almost literally force you to laugh.

"That Beautiful Laugh" was first seen at the Cal State Long Beach Players Theatre several years ago, and it is very different, if memory serves; this production is brighter and livelier, but the story is the same. In a world that has forgotten how to laugh, an old man comes to restore laughter, and finds a company of clowns who need his inspiration.

This show is presented by Four Clowns as part of the Long Beach Playhouse's collaborative series.

The play takes place on a stage set with a miniature theater on the left side, ladders and a couple of trunks. Andrew Eiden is Marvin, who takes a space voyage (via shadow puppets) to a land where laughing is forgotten. There he finds five frightened clowns who need a little help to get started: Antoine McGroe (played by Mike Funt), who explains he is French in what sounds like a Bronx accent; Peking Duck (Connor Kelly-Eiding); Cosette of the People (Julia Davis); Princess Tyrone (Emily Brennick), who is hiding in a trunk; and Tom (Dave Honigman).

Marvin and the other clowns are frightened of each other, and of the audience, but soon they grow comfortable, asking questions and playing tricks on children in the front row.

The slapstick routines are fast and furious. The show is scripted, but there is plenty of room for improvisation, and plenty of improv happens.

All six clowns are trained and skilled, and are both appealing and appalling. Turner Munch directs, and he has sense enough to let them have their way on stage.

- John Farrell

The overarching premise of That Beautiful Laugh—basically, an attempt to capture “that beautiful laugh” in a world that once lost all laughter but has since rediscovered all but the eponymous type—is too loose to matter much, especially considering this is a kid-friendly show. It all comes down to whether the clowns are entertaining, including (considering the show’s interactive design) how well they can engage the audience.

The results are mixed, particularly if there aren’t any kids in the audience.

There was a risk in the choice by Four Clowns, the theatre troupe co-founded by Alive Theatre co-founder Jeremy Aluma, to create a kid-friendly clown show that would play the majority of its performances on Friday and Saturday nights. That risk was front and center at the performance I saw, which lacked even a single kid in the house. In the absence of what may be its target demographic, it seemed the six clowns were unsure how much to engage their adult audience. While largely scripted, the improvisational element of That Beautiful Laugh gives the clowns a tough tightrope to walk when the audience is sitting back in their seats.

The best stuff on this night came when the actors focused on themselves and each other. Marvin (Andrew Eiden), who is to some degree the contextual clown m.c., summons the childlike clowns into existence, and they hit the world in a state of near nescience, needing to acquire knowledge of everything they encounter, including each other. It’s good fun to watch this play out, and to see the clowns—each with a distinct personality—move from fear to curiosity and wonder. Their discovery of each other is lovely, particularly in the case of the three females, Princess Tyrone (Emily Brennick), Cosette of the People (Julia Davis), and Peking Duck (Connor Kelly-Eiding).

Then comes one of the show’s strongest points: its use of physical rhythm. Describing just how the clowns learn a lesson about negotiating each other and the world through a sort of rhythmic cause-and-effect would be a bit too much of a writerly exercise to serve this review, but it’s precious, and whether or not show “conceiver” (there is no writer credited) Orlando Pabotoy and director Turner Munch know it, That Beautiful Laugh‘s most effective conceit is its metaphorical exploration of infant development.

The middle of the show is dominated by the clowns’ coming to understand that they are part of a show and conjuring ways to showcase their particular talents and personalities. The standout here is Kelly-Eiding, whose Peking Duck (in a delightful stroke of Dadaist absurdism, the name has no significance whatsoever) is a hyperactive practitioner of a martial art she cannot pronounce the same way twice. She’s an ebullient spaz, and whether she’s front and center or in the background, her energy and attentiveness to the moment never flags. The more Peking Duck, the bigger the laughs.

That Beautiful Laugh does some nice things visually, particularly with an involved bit of shadow-puppetry midway through. Musically, the fact that some music is live and other bits are piped in over the P.A. leads to a bit of atmospheric unevenness. The musical highlight is a live version of “What a Wonderful World.” Yes, it’s absolutely one of the most overused songs in the history of Earth, and I was rolling my eyes when they started in. But the tasteful arrangement—three-part background harmony, melodica, and a rough lead that would have Satchmo nodding with approval—proved truly effective and affecting.

What hurts the show is a bit too much repetition, whether it’s a clown catchphrase we hear one too many times or the “zippidee-doo-dah” vocal tag employed to denote a sort of scene change. Perhaps that works for kids, but if it leaves adults cold, then you’ve got a problem with half your audience—and that’s if you’ve got a lot of kids in attendance. As I experienced, that’s a big “if.”

There is, of course, humor that can tickle the funny bone of kid and adult alike. (For example, there’s a great nose-related sequ1ence in That Beautiful Laugh that brings to mind Wonder Showzen.) It’s hard to say whether Four Clowns delivers enough of that. Presumably a roomful of kids would grease the wheels, so hitting one of the Sunday matinees might be just the ticket.

Tony Bartolone, LA Theatre Review - June 23, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open

That Beautiful Laugh is the kind of show I hope to see every time the light disappears, and a cool anticipatory excitement fills the darkness. Full of tricks, joy and laughter, this is one wonder of a show. Magic.

For children and adults alike, the show is a delish delight. There were moments that transformed my heart to that of a child. In this cynical world, this pleasure of a play successfully incites a childlike sense of wonder and adventure. Against the background of the jaded, industry-heavy, broken dreams of Los Angeles, That Beautiful Laugh rises above as if we were all floating high over the stress, pollution and traffic, high above the broken hearts and lost smiles, far beyond any earthly pain or pleasure… just floating like a dream.

There were stupendous physical and comedic performances across the board. These clowns endear themselves to every open heart. But it was not all happiness. There is also a striking sense of reality that pins us to our seats, and leaves us in a contemplative marvel. Throughout the relatively short run time (about an hour), we are completely captivated, shaken, fulfilled, tickled, moved, entertained as we all learned to love and cherish That Beautiful Laugh.

- Tony Bartolone

Larry Pontius, Bitter Lemons - June 9, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

Four Clowns bring their tremendously funny show That Beautiful Laugh to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. Developed with Orlando Pabotoy, directed by Turner Munch, That Beautiful Laugh is the story of an old man who travels from the moon with a group of clowns to overcome cynicism and rediscover joy and curiosity. But, let’s be honest, the plot of a clown show is totally besides the point. It’s all about the laughs, and this show is packed with them.

With seven clowns it could turn into a discordant mess as each fight for the stage, but That Beautiful Laugh is well balanced among the clowns, each getting a solo turn in front of the audience. These are wonderful moments of play and surprise.

Not to be missed is the epic battle between Loretta, a self styled superhero and Peking Duck, a Tae Kwon Do “expert.” Before it is over, all the clowns are involved in this very inventive and very funny fight.

And while laughs abound, there are also moments of real stage beauty, of real gravitas… which always leads back into laughter. One of my favorite moments was two clowns on a hilarious speed date while the others sing a sweet version of “It’s A Wonderful World” in a dead on Louis Armstrong impersonation.

That Beautiful Laugh is fun for all ages, which doesn’t mean it’s childish… well… they are clowns… it just means you can take your kids OR you can take your friends and everyone is bound to have a good time.

- Larry Pontius

Marlon Deleon, Long Beach Examiner - June 13, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

Two years ago, Jeremy Aluma introduced Four Clowns to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Accompanied by Ellen Warkentine on an upright piano, melodica and an electronic keyboard, Angry Clown, Sad Clown, Mischievous Clown, and Nervous Clown led audiences on a journey through valleys of despair and over mountains of laughter to understand the four stages of life. The next two years would include a national tour, a little Shakespeare remix, and numerous awards. Amidst the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival, the Four Clowns are back, not as the original archetypal quartet, but as a company of actors behind the famed red noses—and they brought some friends.

Turner Munch is one such friend, and he joins forces with Aluma’s Four Clowns to direct That Beautiful Laugh at the Open Fist Theatre. Munch, director of last year’s original parody Porter’s MacBeth (a 2011 Best of Fringe nominee), revisits a production that was conceived and directed by Orlando Pabotoy for CSU Long Beach’s University Players—he just happened to be Pabotoy’s Assistant Director. Two of the original production’s cast members, Kevin Di Leo and Lis Roche Vizcarra, are joined by Andrew Eiden, Dave Honigman, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Raymond Lee and Bri Price to present a show that was tailored to fit this ensemble and their unique talents.

This first family friendly production of the Clowns (the others get a little too graphic and violent for the G-rating) is a quest that requires every member of this red-nosed A-team—the world has forgotten how to laugh. And so, Marvin the elder (complete with hat, glasses and red umbrella) leads Krumpitz, Tom, Peking Duck, O’Precious, RoBecca, and Loretta to rediscover that beautiful laugh. Over the course of an hour, these clowns will bring you to life—not themselves—you. You will laugh, cheer and celebrate the spectacle before you like you have never before, and at the end, you will find yourself victorious in a journey similar to their own. The fun factor skyrockets into outer space with That Beautiful Laugh, and the large house of the Open Fist space rumbles West Hollywood with a roar of collective guffawing. Turner Munch has assembled and bonded a veritable Magnificent Seven of the theatre, and he uses every bit of space available to create a pleasantly-enveloping theatrical experience.

With over 200 productions combining for over 1,000 performances between June 7th-24th, everyone’s Fringe experience can be tailored to fit their personal tastes, but if you can squeeze in one of the remaining performances of That Beautiful Laugh (information below), then you should--it'll be worth it. There is also the opportunity to catch the original Four Clowns production, one night only, Thursday, June 14th, so if you want to see how it all began, mark your calendars and get in line for waitlisting, because they may already be sold out.

- Marlon Deleon

Noah Nelson, Turnstyle - June 12, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

Last year Four Clowns‘ production of Four Clowns: Romeo & Juliet and director Turner Munch’s Porter’s Macbeth were two of my favorite shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, so to say that my expectations for That Beautiful Laugh were high is a complete understatement. While the show delights, and left me with a smile on my face and with the warm glow of a few belly laughs, it fell short of my expectations for this talented company.

That Beautiful Laugh is the first Four Clowns’ production to be aimed at a general audience. The previous editions from the company featured bawdy humor and explicit language. This show, however, comes squarely from that part of the clowning instinct that appeals to children of all ages. The broadening of focus, however, is not the real source of trouble for this production. Let’s begin with what works, as it is my intent to make the case that you should see That Beautiful Laugh in spite of my issues with the show.

Munch brings his intense skills as a director to bear to create some truly magical moments: a schoolyard fight between two characters that evolves into company  wide affair and a shadow puppet tour of a nightmare landscape are the stand-outs among many of the vignettes over the course of the show. In fact, That Beautiful Laugh works best when approached as a series of lightly interconnected skits.

Unfortunately that is not how the production frames itself; instead the company reaches to tell a story about a world where laughter has been forgotten. It’s an interesting enough concept, one that is probably worth mining for comedy and pathos alike. Yet the sheer scale of the production– there are seven cast members who weave in and out of scenes– works against that quest. The story arc, which has the old clown Marvin (evoking maximum empathy by a Mickey Mouse-voiced Andrew Eiden) seeking the missing secret of laughter, comes into focus only when two or three of the cast are on stage at once.

The show suffers from what I call Multiple Character Syndrome (which I go into detail on in a recent critique of the film Prometheus), which is almost ironic given the company behind the production. The genius of last year’s Romeo & Juliet was that the four clowns played all the parts within the Shakespeare masterpiece, which let the inherent personalities of each of the clown characters to comment on the action of the play. Here character fatigue sets in right from the start with the sheer size of the cast. An hour isn’t a lot of time to fall in love with a large group of characters presented on a level playing field.

Perhaps the production would be better served if it ditched the narrative conceit altogether and allowed itself to breathe free as a variety show. Yet this option belies the promise of the concept, and the talent of the producers. I can’t help but shake the feeling that with some tightening– either of the size of the cast or of the production’s narrative structure– That Beautiful Laugh could blossom into something truly special.

As it stands this latest effort from the Fringe veterans is an intriguing hint as to how the company, headed by Artistic Director Jeremy Aluma may evolve. One that is, judging from the laughter of the kids in the audience, fun for the whole family.

- Noah Nelson

Maureen Chesus, Sophisticated Theater Nerd - June 27, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

Jeremy Aluma, the artistic director of Four Clowns, spoke during the Bitter Lemons Fringe panel about the benefit of packing the house during the first weekend of shows, and I can absolutely see why. It definitely helps the vibe of the show to have a full audience reacting, and this was definitely the case when I saw That Beautiful Laugh. It was delightfully funny, surprisingly touching, had very unique props/set, and made me interested in seeing other stuff by them. I do feel like I’ve been spoiled by the excellent clowning I saw while at UCI, but I found this production successful nonetheless. I find this type of work to be very important– to bring a childlike sense of wonder and joy into the lives of adults– so props to them for facilitating that.

- Maureen Chesus

Shirle Gottlieb, Grunion Gazette - March 16, 2013 @ Long Beach Playhouse

There’s something for everyone this weekend at the Long Beach Playhouse.

The Four Clowns production of “That Beautiful Laugh” is on stage upstairs in the Studio Theatre as part of the “2013 Collaborative Series.” Whether you’re 4 or 84, you’ll be royally entertained by the naughty mischief and impromptu antics of these dramatic prototypes as they discover every facet of laughter: love, joy, mischief, pain, sorrow and fear.

Conceived in 2009 by Orlando Pabotoy (and presented by the University Players at California State University, Long Beach), “That Beautiful Laugh” has been through many transformations. Now known as “Four Clowns” productions, they have won prizes at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, toured the country, created adaptations of well-known classics, and established a Clown School.

So here they are back in Long Beach where “That Beautiful Laugh” began. And Turner Munch, who was involved with the original CSULB production, directs this new version.

Everything begins with shadow puppets. An old man named Marvin (Andrew Eiden), travels through time with his weathered trunk, hoping to bring joy to a world that has forgotten how to laugh. With him are five frightened clowns who are startled by the new world.

The madcap bunch of innocent, naive, wide-eyed, raucous clowns includes Princess Tyrone (Emily Brennick), Cosette of the People (Julia Davis), Antoine McGroe (Mike Funt), Tom (Dave Honigman), and Peking Duck (Connor Kelly-Eiding).

Dressed in Lis Vizcarra’s colorful costumes, they cavort all over William Sammons’ creative set, climb over seats to reach people in the audience (some might be shills), race up and down the aisles, and literally knock themselves out. Although the show is scripted, the clowns are free to “do their own thing” whenever the spirit moves them.

Tiffany Moon, Life in LA - March 3, 2013 That Beautiful Laugh Review @ Long Beach Playhouse

There are many kinds of laughs, but only one beautiful one. Or so Los Angeles based physical acting troupe Four Clowns tells us as they take us on a journey from the moon to a land where the population has forgotten how to laugh in this charming quest to reacquaint the world with That Beautiful Laugh.

Upstairs in the intimate Studio Theatre at the Long Beach Playhouse, it was clear that Friday night’s crowd had not in any way forgotten how to laugh during this delightful eighty-minute romp featuring an ensemble of six clowns improvising and interacting their way through a variety of sketches and tricks. This is a new incarnation of the LA favorite’s first family-friendly venture that premiered at the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival with a slightly different company of performers and was originally conceived by Orlando Pabotoy in 2010 in collaboration with director Turner Munch. It is playing through March 17 as part of the People’s Theatrical Collaborative, a space-sharing program implemented by the Playhouse to allow residencies of area theatre companies.

After Marvin rockets away from the moon and lands in an undefined location, he plants red clown noses around the stage from which the rest of the company seem to spring forth. It is apparent that they are unfamiliar with both the space and with each other. When they discover that they are being watched by the audience, they take turns performing tricks to entertain us. It becomes a little unclear how the original story of the loss of laughs is connected to the company of clowns, but for the most part we are so entertained by their individual antics that we forget that there is supposed to be a story at all!

That said, the production does feel a little bit like Clown School exercises all strung together by an idea rather than a plot, but the performers are energetic and endearing and their interactions feel authentic. I particularly grew fond of tough-guy Antoine McGroe (Mike Funt) with his “French” accent and flea circus, as well as the lovely, fragile old man from the moon himself, Marvin (Andrew Eiden). There were plenty of laughs from the evening audience of mostly adults, while three young children sitting in the front row provided ample opportunity for attention from the clowns.

There were two funny and creative sections involving shadow puppets that were highly enjoyable – the trip from the moon (beware of dragons!) and a trip through Scarywood, narrated by Eiden. There is a lot of screaming, a lot of vaudeville-esque slapstick violence, and a clever bed stunt to round out the evening. The bittersweet ending seemed a bit jarring for a children’s show, but I suppose the Clowns had to retain their reputation for providing adult-palatable fair even in this toned-down version. All in all, this cast does justice to the art of clowning, offering an evening of whimsy and delight for both children and adults alike.

The set design by William Sammons was fanciful and playful, featuring colorful ladders, trunks, and children’s toys strung along the ceiling – and, of course, a cannon ominously sitting stage left until, like Chekhov’s gun, it fulfills its purpose late in the show. Lighting designer Donny Jackson shined through his atmospheric changes, supporting both the performers and set design.

SPECIAL MENTION: That Beautiful Laugh

Bob Leggett, Los Feliz Examiner - June 9, 2012 @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

All I can say is “WOW!” It was beautifully crafted, with seven clowns looking for the perfect laugh – it was heartwarming, sweet, sad and extremely unforgettable as this cast of characters stole its way into our hearts. They have truly perfected the art of audience interaction, and made themselves at one with each of us. This is a definitely DON’T MISS event.

FEATURES: That Beautiful Laugh

Kiran Kazalbash, OC Register - March 27, 2013 @ Long Beach Playhouse

Clowns. Some people love them, others hate them, but now the entire family can go out and laugh at them at them when the Award-winning, nationally-touring company Four Clowns presents "That Beautiful Laugh" at the Long Beach Playhouse opening March 1.

The Los Angeles based troupe, known for its improv-style sketch comedy, is for the first time rolling out aimed at children and families.

The Four Clownns improv theatrical troupe is staging a new show for family audiences in Long Beach.

"That Beautiful Laugh" is a story told through shadow puppets and acting about a wise old man who comes to earth only to find that there is no longer any laughter. Throughout his journey he assembles an arsenal of clowns who travel with him around the world in pursuit of laughter.

Jeremy Aluma, artistic director of Four Clowns and producer of "That Beautiful Laugh," said the transition to children's shows was a gratifying and smart decision for the company.

"Adult audiences are great but the youth are so giving, they're such an honest audience," he said. "They have such a brightness and intelligence about them, they're very responsive and curious. Its just so great to see the excitement on their faces and what a gift to give them laughter and laugh with them."

Four Clowns productions are loosely scripted shows revolving around a mixture of physical comedy and improvisation, sometimes in the form of games involving audience interaction.

"What's most important about (our shows) is that we have a connection to the audience. There's never a fourth wall and we want to interact with them in a positive way. We're definitely rooted in comedy but it's derived from the human condition, though there is still some silly humor as well."

"That Beautiful Laugh" debuted on a smaller scale last summer at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it picked up several awards. The show's creators are exhilarated to finally be able to première the play to a mass audience. Aluma said though the show is full of fun and entertainment there is definitely a message he hopes the audience can take away.

"The greatest thing we could all do is just laugh together and have a good time. There's wonderment to the show, there's a few magical moments that will fill excite both the adults and kids," Aluma said. "There's no lesson in the show but the lesson of laughter is the best medicine."

Amy Tofte, Bitter Lemons - June 20, 2012 Four Clowns Feature @ 2012 Hollywood Fringe @ Open Fist

Four Clowns is an award-winning Los Angeles theater company specializing in performances of…

Wait for it…Clowns.

Jeremy Aluma serves as Four Clowns’ razor-sharp founder/artistic director and he seems to be everywhere at once at this year’s Fringe—taking in shows and making the rounds at Fringe Central Station. His potent energy matches his ideas and after two successful years at the Hollywood Fringe, he’s back with his team for a third with the family-friendly premiere of That Beautiful Laugh playing at Fringe Central’s Open Fist.

“I trained in physical clowning,” Aluma describes his background. “But I’m not an actor. I behave like one but I’m not.”

Aluma is no stranger to creating magic on an LA stage. He directed a 2010 production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariat (Urban Theatre Movement at Company of Angels), earning plenty of critical praise for successfully helming its 23-person cast in the 99-seat venue.

The inaugural Four Clowns production (actually called Four Clowns) was conceived and directed by Aluma in 2010. The original adults-only show was developed from Aluma’s concept of four archetypal clown characters (sad, angry, nervous and mischievous) each experiencing the primary phases of their life (childhood, adolescence and adulthood) which would reveal how they came to be who they are.

Aluma’s clever concept seemed an artistic crap shoot in the beginning but quickly grew into a hit that has now toured around the country for over two years, collecting more accolades along the way and still selling out on stops in Los Angeles.

“Our audiences grew exponentially each time,” Aluma says of the original show. “We had no idea it would work when we started but we did end up being very popular. Which is always nice.”

The new family show seems poised for similar success, ranking consistently near the top of the 2012 Bitter Lemons Fringe Meter tallied from direct audience feedback online.

That Beautiful Laugh tells a story described to expose “the joys of laughter” using seven clown performers in a story conceived by Orlando Pabotoy and directed by Turner Munch. Aluma kept a watchful eye throughout the Beautiful Laugh process.

“The interaction with the audience is essential and, I think, the most interesting component of clown,” Aluma says. “I think it’s the one thing I’m trying to discover the most with each show and how we play with that.”

Four Clowns has plenty of work on the local horizon with an upcoming gig at South Coast Rep where they will be creating a main stage children’s show, directed by Aluma, as well as smaller performances on deck. Always check show details carefully, because this clown troupe serves up equal parts risky adult humor and family fare, depending on the show. But when it comes to skills, Aluma looks for the same things in a Four Clowns audition room no matter what the clown content.

“They are all actors first. It’s hard to find people who just do clowning,” Aluma says. “But you have to have some [clown] training; you have to know what it means to fail and work through the muck of failing.”

Whatever his theatrical task, Aluma has plenty to smile about and does.

Just two shows left for That Beautiful Laugh…

- Amy Tofte