It's really trendy to hate clowns right now, but rather than stop these comedic performers, the anti-clown backlash is pushing them to redefine what it means to be a clown. L.A-based theatrical production company Four Clowns isn't about the typical balloon-twisting, birthday party bozos, who admittedly can be disturbing. Instead, it's a troupe of approximately 25 performers who treat clowning as an advanced art form. Founder and artistic director Jeremy Aluma studied under David Bridel, director of USC's MFA acting program and himself founder and artistic director of Four Clowns' sister company, the Clown School. Four Clowns takes itself very seriously — but not too seriously. Its repertoire is cleverly divided into adult and kid-friendly shows. Bridel's brand-new plays, Noah and Jonah, are for adults. These original works juxtapose God's beleaguered acolyte Noah against shiftless Jonah, with each man illustrating different attitudes toward his uninvited responsibilities. In the end, both characters personify the clown as a fool, an archetype that has endured throughout history and isn't going anywhere soon, no matter how bad your coulrophobia. Annenberg Community Beach House, 415 Pacific Coast Hwy., Santa Monica; Noah: Wed., July 9, Fri., July 11, and Thu., July 17, 4:30 p.m. Jonah: Thu., July 10, Wed., July 16, and Fri., July 18, 4:30 p.m.; free. Online reservations recommended. (310) 458-4904, fourclowns.org/adults/noah-jonah.