Understudy in terms of opera and theatre is defined as a substitute to a regular performer when the lead is unable to perform. In general, it is replacing the trained person with another skilled person to perform the task. It is normal for teachers to keep someone ready as a proxy when school plays and dramas are being staged. These activities help students to engage more.
When the regular actor is unable to perform on stage because of sickness, injury, emergencies, or death, at that time, the understudy takes over. Nowadays, the term understudy is generally used for the performer who can be a backup artist, and regularly perform other roles.
In understudy, several actors have gained wide popularity in show business by replacing the actors and taking over the roles for several performances.
When the lead actor falls sick on the day of the school play, the understudy plays the part so that the drama is not affected. Teachers have to be proactive and keep the things that might go wrong in mind so that they are prepared for the worst. As mentioned, these kinds of activities helps students to be more engaged in the classroom.
In some cases, a lead role is performed by multiple understudies. The second one only performs when the first and the principal actor is unable to play a role.