Maeve Carron, who was cast to play the role of ‘Belle’, reportedly was absent from rehearsals for one week for a minor hospital procedure.The University Observer understands that having rehearsed for the musical for six months, the actress was originally informed that her replacement would only play the title role in two of the five nights of the show, which begins its run tonight (February 15th) in the O’Reilly Hall. However, it has now come to light that the original cast member will not be participating in the musical at all.Producer Aileen Ryan told The University Observer: “In theatre, we are often required to face unforeseen problems that arise and need to be dealt with, with the greater good of the show in mind. This is the same in any field. The loss of our original Belle was an unfortunate event, on a par with the loss of footballer due to injury before the big game. However, the show must go on.”Vice-President for Students Dr Martin Butler said: “I think what happened here was extremely unfortunate in that we have a very talented young lady who has given six months of her life in a dedicated professional fashion to her particular role. What happened was that a medical condition arose that prevented her from just being ‘Belle’ in the show.“The Producer and Director and steering group looked at the situation and it was decided at that point in time that it was in the best interests of all.”Ryan added: “Our Production team gave the decision considerable thought and consulted a number of independent and external individuals before reaching our final decision. Obviously, it goes without saying, that this was a hard decision to make.”The replacement actress is understood not to have been an official understudy, yet Ryan said that she has taken to the role “like a duck to water, and the show has not suffered due to the change”.Beauty and the Beast has been in production since April 2010 and will run for five consecutive nights this week.The UCD Community Musical is an annual event that first ran in 2008, and involves a collaboration of both students and staff. Previous productions include West Side Story, Footloose and Guys and Dolls.Carron declined to comment when contacted by The University Observer.