Adventurer to take Ľubovňa Castle

HE FOUGHT in the Austrian army, joined a Polish national movement, and was exiled to Siberia by the Russians. He managed to escape, sail the Northern Pacific, and impress King Louis XV, who delegated him to the island of Madagascar.
The King of Madagascar, Maurice Benyowsky (Móric Beňovský in Slovak), born in 1746 in what is today Slovakia when it was part of the Hungarian monarchy, has been an inspiration for many plays and movies.


A SLOVAK king of sorts.
photo: Courtesy of Ľubovňa museum

HE FOUGHT in the Austrian army, joined a Polish national movement, and was exiled to Siberia by the Russians. He managed to escape, sail the Northern Pacific, and impress King Louis XV, who delegated him to the island of Madagascar.

The King of Madagascar, Maurice Benyowsky (Móric Beňovský in Slovak), born in 1746 in what is today Slovakia when it was part of the Hungarian monarchy, has been an inspiration for many plays and movies. Slovaks, Hungarians, and Poles all consider him one of their own.

Julius Slowacki, a recognised Polish poet, brought him to the position of a Polish national hero. His poem Beniowski served as the basis for a couple of theatre plays, including a monodrama by Witold Kopec. The acclaimed Polish actor will arrive in Slovakia during the Ľubovňa Castle Days, on July 31 and August 1, to present the adventures of the globetrotter to the Slovak public as seen via Polish eyes.

"The play has attracted a lot attention in Poland, and I am sure it also will here," said Miroslav Števík of the castle's museum. He added that Benyowsky was imprisoned in the castle's tower for several months in 1768, which was the initial motivation behind inviting the play to the event.

Kopec, the director and actor in the play, prepared his adaptation for the Lublina's Teatrze Studio. The humorously adjusted version and the actor's performance temperament won him immediate acclaim among the public as well as critics.

According to the castle's administrator, Dalibor Mikulík, the monodrama lasts around one hour, and the artist's gestures are so expressive that even non-Polish speakers can understand. It will enrich the evening programme on the first day of the two-day event, starting at 18:00 with a castle tour.

During the weekend of Ľubovňa Castle Days, guided excursions to the castle will be enriched by fencing and theatre performance. The fencing group Lords of Spiš will showcase the fighting techniques used between the Gothic and Baroque periods, and the Commedia theatre from Poprad will stage The Taming of the Shrew. The guided tours will run every half hour from 9:00 to 17:00.

The Ľubovňa Castle stands above Stará Ľubovňa, a town in the northern part of the Spiš region some 50 kilometres northwest or Poprad. Tickets to the Maurice Benyowsky evening cost Sk100 and Sk50. For more information call the castle's museum at 052/4322-422.

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