Orthodox Christian activists burst onstage during a rendition of Oscar Wilde's "The Ideal Husband" and berated the audience of Moscow theatergoers for tolerating blasphemy.
In a video of the incident posted on LifeNews, Dmitry Enteo, leader of the Orthodox group God's Will, and a young female supporter are seen disrupting the performance on Thursday evening at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater before being dragged away by security. They were handed over to police afterwards.
When the girl was led from the auditorium — still crying out "Why do you so hate Jesus?" — some of the audience members began to applaud.
"Most of the public were certain that Enteo's monologue was the director's most successful find and an extension of Bogomolov's boisterous PR campaign," wrote Alexander Cheparukhin, the audience member who recorded the footage, on his Twitter account.
Two people were detained for hooliganism at the theater and brought to a city precinct, a police representative told RIA Novosti, without naming the people in question. The authorities have not yet decided whether to charge them.
The activists went to the theater to see if reports from shocked believers about the play's content were accurate but could not restrain themselves at a pivotal moment in the performance, Enteo said.
"We went on stage and appealed to the hall's conscience. We explained that an infernal blasphemy was happening on stage: a naked woman was hung from the ceiling and representing the crucified Jesus Christ, and an actor playing a homosexual priest was worshipping her. This deeply offended us," Enteo said.
"An Ideal Husband. A Comedy," based on Oscar Wilde's play of the same name, was directed by Konstantin Bogomolov, whose provocative productions have lately become notorious in the theater community.
The play has been nominated for Best Large Scale Production in the 2014 Golden Mask Festival.
Enteo and his followers claim that the production violates the so-called blasphemy law — passed into law earlier this year — which criminalized offending religious feelings.
"We will strive to have Bogomolov receive three years in jail for offending the feelings of believers," Enteo wrote on Twitter. Three years is the maximum possible sentence under the blasphemy law.
God's Will is known for organizing rallies against homosexuality and the Pussy Riot punk rock band.