A ventriloquist dummy is the name of a dummy who is used in an elaborate ritual to mimic certain voices, sometimes called by the public “vocaloids”. In these performances, the dummy is dressed in a character-like costume and sings a song that it is supposed to speak in the person of the impersonator; this “real” voice that corresponds with what the impersonator thinks the dummy to be saying is called her “voice box”. The person singing has no knowledge or ability of the real voice in the dummy. Usually, the audience members are only able to hear the dummy singing but not understand it; thus, this performance is done in a semi-artistic form. In this type of performance, the dummy is used only to mimic the voice of the actual actor, and not in any form that is perceived as speech by any of the actors in the performance.
To listen to a real person speaking in a dummy, the audience is called a silent audience.
What are the dangers of a ventriloquist?
Although the act of vocalizing a person using a puppet is not illegal in the United States as long as the performer does not sell the puppet, such actors often try to get people prosecuted for having a hearing aid or hearing aid device attached to their person while singing to a character. However, the most common reason for these charges is that the people arrested in these attacks have ear and speech impediments, are impaired when the performers perform, are drunk, and/or are people who are mentally ill. The law does allow the prosecution of those who have a hearing aid or hearing aid device permanently attached to their person.
Do I have to wear a hearing aid or hearing aid device before I sing a voice?
Yes. A hearing aid or hearing aid device must be removed from your person while that person is performing or while listening to a dummy for at least two hours to ensure that you are hearing properly. You can hear, but don’t speak, in your right ear at any time.
Are we allowed to wear a headband or earplugs?
Yes. If you choose to wear one, it must be worn in a manner that prevents your face from covering the part of the ears where you can hear and is sufficiently secure that you will not be knocked over by something that you might accidentally hear while you are wearing the hearing aid or earplugs. See the following FAQs for more details of what you want to be sure of.
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