Vashon Island's UMO Ensemble is anything but a straight theater company. Using grotesque costumes and broad gestures, its members practice a French-derived brand of "buffoon theater," where fools mock their betters—and us in the audience, too. UMO's new show, Maldoror, is based on writings by the 19th-century French poet Lautréamont, about a nihilist who despises and forsakes mankind. Mr. Maldoror opposes God, polite society, and conventional morality. He's a dark Romantic figure in the tradition of Milton and Shelley, one who burns his angry candle at both ends. Indeed, Lautréamont died at 24, and the 1869 Les Chants de Maldoror was his only work, later taken to heart by the Surrealists and the Dada movement. There was no plot to the original—it's more of a rant or manifesto of malign intent. (In one passage, Maldoror describes having sex with a female shark; we look forward to that scene.) Scott Bradley directs the production, with music by Andre Sanabria. BRIAN MILLER

Sept. 13-15, 8 p.m., 2012

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