Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/Dubbing Voice in Plays.


QUESTION: Dear Kitty

1. Is it possible to Dub voice in Plays as there are live performances by artists as compared to Movies ?.

2. What will you prefer as a play director in this scenario for taking decisions ?.

Performing Artist reports Sore Throat, Cold problem which will not allow him/her to narrate properly just 1 day before the play ?.

a. Replacing the Artist with another Artist.
b. Dubbing voice for the Artist played in background by another artist. i.e. The Same Artist will act in the play, only in the background another voice will be playing which the artist has to synchronize.
c. Cancelling the Play.

Among a,b,c which is best suited for taking a decision and under what conditions and parameters ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Plays are not my area of expertise, but generally speaking, there are many plays that have a narrator or person who does a voice without being seen on stage.  There is usually an understudy for all the larger plays (including dance and musicals) who would be available should one of the main characters become ill or otherwise be unable to continue in their role.  If the actor is too ill to perform, such as in a stage play, it would not be a good idea to bring a sick person on to the stage.  In the case where a singer has something mild, such as vocal strain or laryngitis, they can be dubbed, but it is usually done with their own (taped) voice, not the voice of another singer.

There are cases where even after rehearsals are complete or nearly so, an actor is replaced.  When puppets are used, quite often either multiple actors can be trained to do one voice (in the case of a known character) or actors can be replaced even if they have differences in voices (such as with using a male voice to play 'the wolf').

Those are a few situations where multiple voices and/or actors could be used in stage places, including the use of dubbing for singers (in certain situations).  As to your specific question, I would choose a).  If an artist was ill, I would want them to be at home resting or otherwise using their time off the state to become better.  I would not try to dub a live performance when the main character or characters were unable to perform fully.

Thank you for the question,

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Kitty

Thank you.

You have interpreted my question correctly.

As a example, you are the Play director of the Famous William Shakespeare's Play "Romeo and Juliet". Now the Lead performers playing the part of Romeo or Juliet had the sore throat problem, but not critically ill and just one day in advance before the play. Now you could have taken a decision of either a,b or c.

In this case, you selected Option a.


a. Replacing the Artist with another Artist, provided medical attention was not sufficient for healing the sore throat problem.

Another Scenario

The scenario is that the Lead Role who is playing the role of Romeo or Juliet is a well known theater artist personality. i.e. Audiences are going to watch the play and have purchased tickets because of the famous artist who is acting in the role of either Romeo or Juliet.

So i would really like to know, if you had much more time (not a single day, but say 3-4 days), Is it really difficult for practice and match up the one actors voice with the other's mouth ?.

i.e. Behind the curtain another artist is narrating dialogues with a microphone while the famous artist is doing lip movements and gestures.
As you correctly interpreted, the lip movements and the voice behind should synchronize.

In this case, the audience will be able to see Romeo or Juliet in play but the voice will be not the original voice of the famous artist portraying the role of Romeo or Juliet.

Have you ever encountered such a situation ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

It can be difficult to dub a live performance, particularly since not all actors stick precisely to the script, and a live stage performance also does not always follow the same timing for the delivery of lines between multiple characters.  When one is dubbing a film, for example, it's not live.  Animation is done in reverse, first the voice, then the mouth is matched up/drawn on the character.

I personally do not know of a situation such as you describe above, where a live theatre actor has been dubbed, but as that is not my area of expertise, I cannot say that it hasn't happened.  I do know that it happens in films, and was quite common when silent film stars were first making the transition into Talkies - and the actor's real voice (pitch or accent, intonation, etc.) didn't fit their look.

I hope that answers your question, and thank you.


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Kitty Kavey


I can answer questions from those looking to get into the fashion or commercial modeling industry. Specifically, the requirements, what is needed, how to find an agent, what they look for, how to avoid scams, the difference between what a commercial model does, and a fashion model, would travel/relocation be required, what is on a comp card and in your portfolio.


Both my acting and modeling resume/portfolio is available online on my website. I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and also have available my actor's demo reel and voice-over demo online. I founded both the and websites, which provide free modeling and acting info to the public. I have moved into directing, producing and screenwriting - and have won awards for my writing. I have worked in the industry as both a model and actress in Florida, New York City and Los Angeles until October 2007. I now reside in Europe.

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