Amateur actors were left devastated when a technicality forced them to withdraw from a prestigious competition.
Tryst Theatre had reached the finals of the Scottish Community Drama Association One Act Play Festival, beating off competition from 140 others to take its place in the last eight.
The Falkirk drama group took the title last year and went on to become British champions - beating the winners of the English, Irish and Welsh competitions.
It was hoping to repeat the success with ‘Some Kind of Love Story’ by Arthur Miller - a two-actor play starring Brian Paterson as private eye Tom O’Toole and Rhona Law as schizophrenic prostitute Angela.
However, its dreams were dashed when director Alan Clark discovered the licence it had wouldn’t cover the competition.
Alan said: “We are all absolutely gutted, everyone worked so hard and to not get the chance to perform is devastating.”
The group was forced to withdraw from the finals, being held at the macrobert centre in Stirling next week, after Alan realised the licence didn’t allow them to cut any dialogue from the script.
The rules of the contest state the play has to be no longer than 50 minutes and, without cuts, ‘Some Kind of Love Story’ would run over.
Alan continued: “Basically it comes down to the fact that I hadn’t read the rules of the licence when it came though. We called Arthur Miller’s people and, while they were sympathetic to our situation, they said there was nothing they could do, leaving us with no option but to withdraw.
“Everyone is very upset, especially as we did so well last year and we felt this play was very strong.”
Tryst Theatre secured its place in the finals after qualifying through the Falkirk district and eastern divisional heats.
It won the British finals last year with three-actor play ‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza, its first UK crown since 1979.
Festival organiser Stephen Lambert said the situation was unfortunate.
He added: “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing ‘Some Kind of Love Story’ twice already at the divisional heats and it was an extremely powerful performance.
“It was one of the front runners and it would have taken something outstanding to beat it. Rhona and Brian were great in it and the direction was superb so to hear they have had to pull out is very disappointing.
“Tryst Theatre is one of the top amateur groups in Scotland and, after winning the British competition last year, its chances were very good.
“It is very uncommon for a licence to be given to perform a play with these types of conditions and, with the full running time at well over an hour, there is no way they could continue.
“It’s upsetting but they have done the right thing by withdrawing from the competition.”
With Tryst’s withdrawal, Killin Drama Club will now perform in the finals with ‘Swansong’ by Vanessa Brooks.
The festival runs from April 26-28 with eight groups performing over the three nights. For more information contact macrobert on (01786) 466666.