Imagine the infamous streaker from the 1974 Academy Awards ceremony, except with a lot to say about unions and labor. And in French.
The annual Molières awards -- France's equivalent of the Tony Awards, honoring excellence in live theater -- came to a standstill last week when a naked man appeared onstage to deliver an extended speech in which he excoriated France's top cultural official about the labor injustices faced by working playwrights.
In an online video of the ceremony, which has since gone viral, Sébastien Thiéry was introduced by the ceremony's host, Nicolas Bedos, as a union representative. Thiéry then descended a staircase completely naked, eliciting whistles and some laughter from the audience, which included a visibly surprised Fleur Pellerin, France's minister of culture and communication.
Putting on a pair of glasses to read from a piece of paper, Thiéry said that he was speaking on behalf of the theater division of the CGT, one of France's largest labor unions.
"Did you know, Madame Minister, that living dramatic writers are the only people in this profession who don't benefit from unemployment insurance?" he said, directly addressing Pellerin.
The speech generated laughter and a smattering of applause as Thiéry continued to argue for playwrights. He said that playwrights don't receive the same unemployment benefits as actors, costume designers and other theater professionals.
"We can do theater without costumes. But not without writers," he said, moving away from the podium so that his full body was visible.
At the end of the speech, he descended into the audience to more directly engage with Pellerin, who didn't say anything in reply but who nodded in acknowledgment.
Thiéry, a French playwright and actor, has garnered international attention since his appearance at the ceremony, which took place on April 27 at the Folies Bergère in Paris.
The evening's big winner was "Venus in Fur" by David Ives, which took home awards for best play and for actress Marie Gillain.
Other winners included actors Emmanuelle Devos, André Dussollier and Denis Lavant. The musical production "Bal des Vampires," directed by Roman Polanski, took home a prize for best visual creation.
The video of Thiéry's speech can be seen here, but viewers should be aware that it features full frontal male nudity and impassioned labor activism.